Sunday, December 18, 2011

Krazy Kristmas Traditions: Tio De Nadal

We live in a strange and wondrous world that sometimes just makes no damned sense. Case in point: the Tio de Nadal.

Once again we have a Krazy Kristmas Tradition that originates in Spain, which is apparently trying to wrest the coveted title of "Most Insane Country" from Japan.

The Tio De Nadal (which means "Christmas Log") is a large hollow log decorated with a painted face and red sock hat. It's generally supported by either two or four legs and is covered by a blanket so it doesn't get cold. It's also sometimes known as the Caga Tio, which means... "poop log."

It's brought into the house on December 8th, which as everyone knows is the date of Mary's Immaculate Conception. Each day the children of the house "feed" the log little bits of food to help it grow. The log starts out fairly small, but over the weeks leading up to Christmas the parents will covertly swap it out for increasingly larger logs to give the illusion that it's growing.

Now we get to the really Krazy part. On Christmas day the children command the log to poop. When nothing happens, the kids, armed with sticks, very literally beat the crap out of the Tio de Nadal. The log "poops" out small edible gifts, such as candy, nuts and dried figs. The kids even sing a traditional song as they beat it and it voids its bowels onto the living room floor.

I know it probably seems like I put socks on both of my hands and mashed down a bunch of keys on the computer to generate that last paragraph, but it's all well-documented truth. 

You know that the log has completely emptied itself when it craps a salted herring onto the floor. That signals the end of the Tio de Nadal ritual.

I have so many questions... How did something like this every get started? Why a salted herring? And why do all of Spain's Christmas traditions have to do with defecating?

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