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Tió de Nadal

Christmas

Tió de Nadal

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The Catalan-speaking territories

Photograph of a typicalcontemporary Tió

Photograph of a typical contemporary Tió

The Tió de Nadal (roughly "Christmas log"), also known as "Tió" or "Tronca" ("log"), is a mythological character in Catalan mythology relating to a Christmas tradition widespread in Catalonia.

The form of the tió de Nadal found in many Catalan homes during the holiday season is a hollow log of about 0.3m length, typically standing up on two or four little stick legs with a broad smiling face painted on the higher of the two ends, enhanced by a little red sock hat (a miniature of the traditional Catalan barretina) and often a three-dimensional nose.

Beginning with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), one gives the tió a little bit to "eat" every night and usually covers him with a little blanket so that he will not be cold at night.

On Christmas day or, depending on the particular household, during a Christmas party, one puts the tió partly into the fireplace and orders it to "shit" (the fire part of this tradition is no longer as widespread as it once was, since many modern homes do not have a fireplace). To make him "shit", one beats him with sticks, while singing various songs of Tió de Nadal.

The tió does not drop larger objects, as those are brought by the Three Wise Men. It does leave candies, nuts and torrons. Depending on the part of Catalonia, it may also give out dried figs. When nothing is left to "shit", it drops a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion or "urinates". What comes out of the tió is a communal rather than individual gift, shared by everyone present.

Beating the Tió de Nadal
Beating the Tió de Nadal

In addition to the names listed in the opening paragraph, the additional nickname "Caga Tió" ("shit log") derives from the many songs of Tió de Nadal that begin with this phrase, which was originally (in the context of the songs) an imperative ("Shit, log"). The use of this expression as a name is not believed to be part of the ancient tradition.

The tradition of the tió could be related to that of the Christmas tree.

Here is a song of the "caga tió":

caga tió,
 

caga turró,
avellanes i mató,
si no cagues bé
et daré un cop de bastó.
ˇcaga tió!"

Shit, log,
 

shit torrons,
hazelnuts and cheese,
if you don't shit well
I'll give you a blow with a stick.
Shit, log!

After hitting it softly with a stick during the song it is hit harder on the words "ˇcaga tió!". Then somebody puts his hand under the blanket and takes a gift. The gift is opened and then the song begins again. There are many such songs: this is just an example of a short one.

See also


Home | Up | Santa Claus | Biblical Magi | Caganer | Christkind | Companions of Saint Nicholas | Ded Moroz | Dzied Maroz | Elf | Father Christmas | Joulupukki | Julemanden | Kris Kringle | La Befana | Moş Gerilă | Mr. Bingle | Mrs. Claus | Saint Nicholas | Olentzero | Pčre Noël | Santa Claus' reindeer | Tió de Nadal | Tomte | Yule Goat | Yule Lads

Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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