#Navidad: Meet Tió de Nadal, a log that poops gifts at Christmas in Spain

Europe

Every day until Christmas Eve, The Local explains the unique history behind Spanish Christmas traditions in our own Advent calendar.

Tío de Nadal is another Catalan tradition also found in homes in Aragon and Valencia and just like the caganer it brings together Christmas and the act of defecation and no-one really  knows why.

A log with a jolly face daubed on one end, often propped up on two front legs, and wearing a red sock to mimick the traditional red Catalan beret known as the barretina, this figure appears on hearths on the Feast of the Immacualte Conception (December 8th).

Tradition dictates that children must ‘feed’ scraps to the log, also known as Caga Tío (pooping log) each night in the run up to Christmas and cover him with a blanket to protect him from the cold.

Do this successfully and on Christmas Eve the log will reward its carers by pooping out gifts, traditionally Turron, dried figs and nuts, but in modern times anything from sweets to toys.

He won’t do this though, until beaten with a stick and ordered to defecate with a song.

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The blanket covering his rear end is removed and what lies beneath are gifts to be enjoyed by everyone in the household.

Who needs Santa?

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