|A star from Bethlehem|
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house. When my kids were younger, they often had the school assignment of telling the class about a holiday tradition from their heritage. While I forget what their reports covered, I clearly remember one classmate's presentation on Tio Nadal, the pooping log or cagatió, from Catalan, Spain. At first, I thought the kid was completely making it up, but an internet search confirmed his info. The hollow log is decorated with a face, traditional Catalonian hat and a blanket. In the days leading up to Christmas, the kids give Tio Nadal food offerings like fruit and nuts which he mysteriously eats when no one is looking. According to Donquijote.org,
"On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, according to traditions of each family, the children will approach the cagatió while singing:
'Poop log, poop turron, if you don't poop well, I'll hit you with a stick'
There are many variations to the song depending on each family and their traditions. After each song, the kids hit the cagatió with a stick to make it poop. After their parents quickly distract the children, a small present, normally candies, turron (Spanish nougat) or wafers (called neules en Catalonia), appears underneath the blanket. Nowadays, more and more often, different presents are being incorporated into the cagatió pooping log tradition.
The process is repeated until the log “poops” a head of garlic, an onion, an egg, or any other symbolic item that represents the end of the fun until next year."
It's so fascinating how different places celebrate the same holiday. For the record, Krampus can stay far, far away from me. My family doesn't have an Elf on a Shelf, but I kind of want Tio Nadal.
|An Italian hot air balloon, Tahitian palm ornament and a Swedish bird|
Like many others, I enjoy collecting Christmas ornaments when we travel around the world. They're typically easy to stash in the suitcase and don't break the budget.
|A German house, a hat from Budapest and a keychain from Cuba|
My mother-in-law has amassed quite a collection over the decades. I always love looking at her tree and trying to guess where something is from. There's cuckoo clocks from Bavaria and Chinese lanterns. There are some that we've given her, too, like a little sea turtle from the Cayman Islands.
|Ornaments from Russia, Taiwan and Korea|
In the last few years, she's switched to a smaller, more manageable tree that only has room for her very favorites. The ones in this post are a sampling of them.
|Ornaments from Austria, Yugoslavia and El Salvador|
Do you have a special worldly Christmas tradition?
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