Friday, December 12, 2014


Watch out Santa Clause, El Tió de Nadal is giving you some competition!  Sure, Santa Clause is a great Christmas tradition, a magical way for children to receive presents.  But El Tió de Nadal delivers presents as well - and produces them himself!  So, children now have a choice.....

Which experience would you rather have?

SANTA - (photo:
EL TIO DE NADAL - (Photo:     

El Tió de Nadal (or roughly translated as "Christmas log") is a character in Catalan mythology and a widespread Christmas tradition in Spanish and Menorcan homes.  He is also affectionately known as Caga Tió (or "poop log") for reasons that will soon become apparent.... (cliff hanger).....

Tió de Nadal (

Originally, Tió de Nadal was a simple hollow log, a dead piece of wood, 30 cm long.  This is a Christmas decoration that even the poorest of Menorcan homes could afford!  In more recent years, Tió has come to stand on two or four stick legs with a broadly smiling face painted on the higher end and sporting a red hat (representing the traditional Catalan barretina).  He also now can appear in a variety of sizes.

 The fun all starts on the Day of the Immaculate Conception, December 8.  Families bring out the happy log and children are tasked with "feeding" it every night until Christmas Eve.  They offer him nuts, dried fruit, and water.  Tió de Nadal must also be covered with a blanket to ensure that he is warm and comfortable.

Feeding -   (photo:
But El Tió de Nadal's days of comfort end on December 24th when he is beaten with sticks!

Beating -   (photo:
  As the log is beaten with sticks, he is ordered to defecate while classical songs of Tió de Nadal are sung.

Beating and Singing -   (photo:
Upon being fed, ordered, sung to, and then beaten, Tió's backside delivers small gifts and candy (larger presents come from the Three Wise Men).  Everyone is delighted as they reach below Tió's blanket and retrieve their gifts which were magically "deposited" by the log.

Looking and Retrieving (photo:

While everyone is enjoying their gifts from El Tió de Nadal, he is burned for warmth!

El Tió do Nadal is no longer just popular in Spain and Menorca.  He has now made his way to the FPAN Northeast Office! Excitement abounds as we anticipate the arrival of our gifts.....

Office Feeding (photo: by R. Boggs)

Practice Beating for the Big Day (Photo: R. Boggs)
 Text by Robbie Boggs, FPAN Staff

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