“Caga Tió avellanes I torró
Si no vols cagar
Et donanem un cop de pal.”
Since Tracy re-started “Year of Months”, we’ve been talking about the possibility of me doing a guest post. Topic ideas have ranged from a discussion of movies, or the reality of working in today’s independent film/online television production to “In the Kitchen with RF…no more than 4 ingredients and 3 steps to prepare”. None of those subjects has become an actual post-yet. They might someday, but it just hasn’t seemed like their time.
So, what was compelling enough to motivate this first guest submission? Christmas poo. Wait, what? Yeah, Christmas poo. Let me explain.
As you know, we’ve just begun our #Spain1516 adventure, and are starting to explore our Barcelona neighborhood, known as Eixample. Today, we woke to discover that it’s a national holiday in Spain, “La Immaculada”, or “The Immaculate Conception”. I remember this “holy day of obligation” from my time in Catholic school. Though I’m sure the nuns taught me the correct meaning of the day (it is said to be the date that Mary was conceived without sin), I like many others always thought it was supposed to be the date that Jesus was conceived, “immaculately”. And that’s confusing, since Christmas is only like 3 weeks away, so the real explanation makes way more sense.
Also, let’s not get into one of those debates that says Jesus was born in like June or something and that someone decided we should celebrate in December because of Pagan Solstice, or to compete with Hannukah, or whatever. This is a post about tradition, so let’s just go with the traditional date for Jesus’ birth.
But what does any of this have to do with Christmas poo? Hang on, we’re getting there.
So, while reading up on La Immaculada, I came across mention of a Catalan holiday tradition. Apparently, December 8 is considered the official start of the Christmas season. It is the day when people start putting up their decorations, and really get into the Christmas spirit. It is also the day when Caga Tió comes out. In case you didn’t click that link, it means “Pooping Log”, and looks like this:
So, today is the day all the kids get out their pooping logs (!) and look forward to feeding and taking care of them until Christmas, when they (the logs, not the kids) will poop out sweets and presents. Cool. I can get behind (haha, “behind”) a tradition like that. I like sweets and presents, and like a lot of dudes, I find poop jokes hilarious. But that’s not the ONLY reason that I wanted to write this. What really made me obsess over this is how much Caga Tió reminds me of this favorite character:
Yep, Mr. Hankey is Caga Tió. MIND.BLOWN. Every Christmas since 1997 when that South Park Classic came out, I’ve found an occasion to belt out as much as I could remember of the “Mr. Hankey Song”…”Mr Hankey, The Christmas Poo
Small and Brown, he comes from you…” That’s enough of that…even if I write more of the lyrics, I bet they’ll be cut by the editor. In any case, you get the point, right? TREY PARKER and MATT STONE STOLE THE IDEA FOR MR. HANKEY FROM BARCELONA! I mean, look at these guys side by side:
It’s not like I’m under the illusion that the material in South Park is completely original or something, and I don’t mean to suggest that I think it’s a bad thing that they stole borrowed adapted this odd Catalan tradition for one of the most memorable episodes ever. On the contrary, I think it’s awesome! I mean, isn’t that one of the reasons that we explore our world? To learn more about other cultures, and see where some of our traditions come from? Ok, I admit it, Mr. Hankey and Caga Tió may not be the best examples to learn from, but hopefully you get my point. I feel really lucky (and thankful to Tracy for getting us here) to be somewhere that broadens my perspective, and helps me connect the dots of things I’ve already known a little bit about. I’m sure that over the course of the next 2 months, I’ll come across many more poignant (and less scatalogical) examples of this, but Caga Tió was the first. Oh, and those lyrics that I opened the post with? They’re from a traditional song sung by children during the Christmas season. Here’s what they mean:
“Caga Tió hazelnuts and turron
If you don’t want to poo
We will hit you with a stick”
Now isn’t that a warm and fuzzy holiday message to leave you with? If you’re Catalonian, it is. We’re talking about the people who came up with this. Maybe one of us will write more about that at some point.
Well, thanks for reading my first guest post…you’ll have to let Tracy know if you never want to see any more from me. May Caga Tió poop out lots of treats for you!