Have a Sh*tty Xmas.

It’s Navidad time here in Barcelona (aka Xmas to us North Americans), and of course that means many, many days off for the Spaniards. For example, I am at the tail end of a 5 day weekend.  Which would be great if I were working and if anything was actually open. But other than quite a few street markets selling jamon, antiques, and yes, Xmas stuff, the pickings are slim.

Usually I am not one to acknowledge this time of year other than to make fun of what a scrooge I am and to let others berate me because of my generalized annoyance at all things referencing this holiday. Which I enjoy, by the way.

Take for example the Xmas tree my father made for me last year. Tumbleweed, spray painted black. Cardboard and duct tape base. I think this is an accurate reflection of my spirit of Xmas.

That being said, there are a couple of traditions here I like because they either a) are slightly obscene or b) rather violent and slightly obscene. Thusly, I find them pardonable.

First we have the crapping log (El Caga Tió). This is a log with a face and hat that children beat with a stick while demanding and threatening it to shit turrons (sickeningly sweet nougat, served up in slab form), cheese and hazelnuts. For real, those three things. They even have a song in Catalan that goes like this:

Caga tío, (crap, log!)
caga turró, (crap torrons,)
avellanes i mató,( hazelnuts and cheese,)
si no cagues bé (if you don’t crap well)
et daré un cop de bastó (I’ll give you a smack with a stick.)
¡caga tió! (so crap, log!)

The log wears a blanket and is beaten by children while they sing. Then the blanket is removed to reveal the treats and shared among those present. In some versions of this event the log is then thrown into the fireplace and burned.

Here is a stack of  smiling logs awaiting their fate at a market.The second tradition has to do with the Nativity scene, which most households build. These consist of more than the baby Jesus and a handful of holy rolling onlookers. These are a full blown affair with hills, lakes, barns with animals, farmers, and abundance of food being prepared and it is all quite realistic, for example you can buy farmers slitting the throats of pigs on tables, complete with a pool of blood on the ground. Or toothless old ladies spinning yarn. Or ironmongers hammering horseshoes. The choices are endless.

Or, you can create a more bible oriented nativity,set in the desert, complete with elephants, camels and chariots. In any nativity you’ll find devils, angles; usually a priest or two.

But in any Nativity, there is always a Caganer. This translates to “shitter” and it is exactly that: some dude taking a poo right in the nativity. Yep. And there are lots to choose from. From traditional Catalan figures to famous people to politicians to cartoon characters.

Notice how every single figurine is squatting...?

But it gets better. Not only is the Caganer squatting with pants down, he (or she) always features a pile of poo just under the naked, protruding rear. (Click here to view other celebrity caganers, or buy one for your own nativity. Or whatever.) And sometimes, perhaps it’s a charming new trend, a nativity also features a Pixaner, which translates quite simply to “pisser”.

You can bet my mom will be receiving a Caga tio, a Caganer and a Pixaner for Xmas. They will be added to her Xmas decorations, along side her Incredible Hulk snorkle that decorated her tree last year.

Because nothing says Christmas like poop.


9 thoughts on “Have a Sh*tty Xmas.

  1. That’s GREAT! I always thought people here were too uptight. I can just imagine strategically placing some life size caganers in some local nativity scenes. All the hypocrites would blow a gasket. I hate christmas too. Not that I’m opposed to a holiday like this. I just hate the way it changes people into something you know good and well they’re not. Suddenly mean people who wouldn’t give you the time of day are forcing out pleasantries. And shoppers who would otherwise be polite, are turned into crazed wildebeests that’ll trample you to death if you look away for a second.. all just to get some stupid present for somebody they don’t even like. People should be themselves year round. hmm.. or maybe I’m just cranky cause it’s too cold to comfortably ride. I think I’ll go shit in a nativity scene…

    • Ha ha! That was a great de-evolution of thought.
      My dislike for this holiday is amplified by all the annoyances you listed too, but the fuel for my Xmas hate is that the whole thing is a big sham. Christianity ripped off a holiday celebrated by many pagan religions in a power play to obliterate them during the christianization of Europe. They demonized the pagan gods and icons and criminalized their religious practices, then made the christian calendar holy days fit into the major pagan celebrations. So the actual date has nothing to do with the supposed birth of mankind’s savior.

      The traditions that survived the persecution of non-christian practices are the ones that the general public today, while celebrating with them widely, don’t understand at all: santa claus, xmas trees and yule logs for example.

      No santa and not a big tradition of xmas trees here, but it isn’t surprising that the Yule log is now called a crap log and gets beaten with a stick!

      • I agree.. the actual date handily coincides with the winter solstice… 3 days after the normal solstice? Gee.. I wonder how they came up with that date? lol.

        I like how most Spanish cultures seem to embrace both the yin and the yang so to speak. They recognize and pay homage to the the good and the evil. While most “christian” people over here simply bury their head in the sand at the mere mention of anything “evil”.. like poop. And beating a yule log? How barbarian.

        Off topic.. while I believe in some sort of intelligent design, or more to the point I’m quite the agnostic… I find it annoying that many “christians” will readily give god credit for good.. and the devil blame for evil. They’ll admit that their God is all powerful. And yet still give the devil blame for anything bad that happens. Ummm.. if a god is all powerful.. doesn’t that mean he’s responsible for everything? Good and bad?

        Ahyup.. the cold weather is getting to me. Might have to put the spiked knobbies on the dirt bike soon.

  2. Okay this is a little spooky cause I just picked out christmas cards of a dog that pissed on a snowman.
    Great minds…

  3. Pegmonkey, religious logic is fatally flawed in so many ways, I can’t even begin this rant. Let me just say that “faith” and “the devil/evil” are the two things that piss me off the most about religion.
    There is a reason why faith (belief in something though there is no reason for the belief), guilt and fear (of hell) are the cornerstones of religion, and instilled in children at the age where social behavior learned during this time is difficult to change later on in life. (Ever wonder why the Catholic church insists on Sunday school for children between the ages of 5-9?) Religion is a perfectly designed tool of power. When you hit one of the many questions that make no sense, you get one of two NON-answers that don’t allow further questioning or any shred of logic: “faith” or “the devil”.

    • Yep.. don’t I know it. I’m still trying to deprogram myself from all the misplaced guilt I had shoved down my throat as a child.

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