Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Better Know a Christmas: Catalonia

What the hell's Catalonia, you ask? Well friends, you've come to the right place! It might not be a country, but it IS this week's culture in the spotlight for Better Know a Christmas Tuesday.

Catalonia in the most part, is an autonomous community in Spain, as seen here:

It's the one in red.

is most known for containing the city of Barcelona, and celebrates Christmas like most of Spain: Nativity scenes, bank holidays, feasts, a higher than usual concentration of the religious aspect of the holiday, etc.

Christmas Eve is the general day the traditional Christmassy stuff is celebrated on, but the gifts are given on December 6th, St. Nicholas' Day, just like countries like The Netherlands and Germany. Like those other countries, the children put their shoes out to be filled with gifts. 

December 8th, however, is Three Kings Day, which has even bigger importance to the Spaniards than St. Nicholas Day and is where the better gifts are given out. Then there's New Year's, and the Epiphany on January 6th.

But none of that is important about this specific region. What I've been wanting to talk about are its Christmas traditions that Catalonia sets itself apart from the rest of the world: The Caganer and the Tio de Nadal.

This is Caganer:

A figurine of a little boy shitting. Or in this case, a Mini Paul Reiser in a buccaneer costume shitting an orange. Every source I went to on the Internet doesn't know the exact origin of Shitting Paul Reiser, but it seems that it dates back to the 1800s. I'm chalking this up to my usual "Paul Reiser had fun with a time machine" theory that I use towards things that have to do with the origins of international customs that I don't understand.

In that same vein, this is the Tio de Nadal:

Paul Reiser is a dick for going back in time to redefine the term "Yule Log."
The Pooping Log. This thing combines the best aspects of Christmas, Pinatas, and Crapping (the Holy Trinity): You fill a log with candy and fruit, and if you've been a good boy or girl that eats lots of fiber, it'll all fall out on Christmas Day. When it's done, a salted herring falls out of it. Just like Nana used to do in the twilight of her life. I miss her.

Did I mention that there's even a song you sing to it before whacking it with a stick? It goes like this:

"Caga tió,

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

Which translates to, and I'm not making this up:

"Shit log,

shit turrón [candy],
hazelnuts and cottage cheese,
if you don't shit well,
I'll hit you with a stick,
shit log!"

It's like the Log Song from Ren & Stimpy, only, you know, with crapping! I'm gonna consider this Christmas Better Known. I'm gonna go now to...umm...fill up the log.

Pictured: Me 5 minutes from now.

Until next time, don't forget to check out the other Christmases that I've Better Known:

Great Britain
The Netherlands

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1 comment:

Rev. Back It On Up 13 said...

You know, when you tagged me in this, I was like, "What's this guy thinking, saying I have an interest in things that poop."

Then I read it and discovered it was awesome. So good call there. You were right about me.