Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas in Barcelona

Everyone is talking about tomorrow’s “the end of the world”, what are we going to do if it’s really a last day and all that but since I think the 12.21.12 is just another day, maybe we should prepare for Christmas, after all it sounds more positive and fun.

Many countries have its tradition for Christmas and I think the most different one by far is the Caganer – a pooper .., a Catalan Christmas tradition, the first time I saw it in Barcelona, I was shocked. Because this traditionally dressed little figurine of a man or woman with the pants down - pooping.  This little guy is usually placed in the Christmas nativity set and you find the “caganer” hidden in the back amongst the donkey in the barn while Jesus is being born, or be hidden behind the bush,  this is the part of the fun of the great Christmas humour, kind of like Where's Wally?  They are not trying to mock, just  that “someone got to go, even in this special day, every body poops"… this someone could be anyone from Messi, Michael Jackson to  prince William and his wife, even the pope.  Some people say that the Caganer is “fertilizing” the ground which brings more crops and good luck. Other said who buys a Caganer, will have lots of good luck for the upcoming year. No matter reason it is, poop never has so much fun.

Beside Caganer the Catalans also have a log of wood standing on either two of four legs painted happy face on one end called Caga Tio - a pooping Christmas log. On the December 8th Catalan families will buy a Caga Tio like a little pet and the children will leave the Caga Tio food to eat while they sleep and  eventually this Caga Tio will grow from eating the food the children leave out – the parents change it from the small one to big one (behind the scene of course), some parents just buy the big one in the first place to save money. Traditionally on Christmas eve, the family puts a part of the log into the fire place and on the other side the children beat the tío with sticks and sing songs to entice the Caga Tío to “poop” gifts like sweets, fruit and small toys. In modern days Barcelona, considering that fire and children don’t go well together, they cover the Caga tío with a blanket and  the children will sing and hit the Caga Tio:

Caga tió  -  shit Log
Caga torró  -  shit nougats (turrón),
Avellanes i mató  -  hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
Si no cagues bé  -  if you don't shit well,
Et daré un cop de bastó  -  I'll hit you with a stick,
Caga tió   -  shit log

After hitting it softly with a stick during the song, it is hit harder on the words Caga tió! Then the parents secretly hide the toys under the blanket when the children are not looking and still hit the Caga tío with the stick so that the Cago Tio can poop out the gifts.

Anyway , that’s about it about the pooping Christmas. There are quite a few traditional celebrations in Spain like the Three Kings and Dia de los Santos Inocentes – Day of the Holy Innocents, its kind of like the April Fool’s day. Spain is a fun country and one of the things I like the most is that local people like to enjoy life and to have fun. People in Barcelona have dinner after nine and go out drinking after mid night and back to work as usual the next day, I like it about them. But one thing that “shitting“ me is that they are sometimes too slow and everything is manana (tomorrow), especially when it comes to telephone company, it really makes me want to be one of the Caganer, and I can hide myself in one of their shops and do it. I just hope that no one gonna find me.

Now you are reading this blog meaning the world doesn’t end, so I hope you will have a Merry Christmas, to care and love each other and cherish everyday.  

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