Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Holidays with kids is like starting over again:  the tradition, the excitement, the "holiday spirit" if you will.

This year, we were invited to participate in a Catalan Christmas tradition called "CagaTio".  Now I know "cagar" is "to poop" (okay, it's the not so polite way of saying "poop") and "tio" is "uncle" or slang for "dude".  So... poopy uncle?  poop, man?!  huh????

Flashback to about 7 years ago when I had my first Christmas in Spain.  I travelled to Valladolid to spend the holidays with my then-boyfriend, Oscar.  Like all good Spaniards, we spent Noche Buena visiting the various belenes (Nativity Scenes) and drinking champagne.  He told me to be on the lookout for the Caganet -- a figurine that is hidden in every belen.  The distinguishing characteristic?  It's squatting and pooping.  Turns out, it was not a joke.  Gotta love Spain.

Anyway, back to CagaTio.  Doing a little research, I learned that while "caga" did mean what I thought it did, "tio" did not.  Tio in Catalan actually means trunk (like of a tree).  So the CagaTio celebration actually revolves around a friendly tree trunk being fed and wrapped up in blankets during the afternoon, only to be provoked into pooping out gifts in the evening by children singing a song and hitting it with a stick.  I repeat, gotta love Spain!

Wikipedia has a great summary of the fiesta here including the lyrics to the song in Catalan and English.

We actually had a blast and I'm looking into getting our own CagaTio for the kiddos next year!

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