IN our continuing series on Saturnalia/Yule traditions ... Click on the video link (below) to see El Caga Tió de Nadal ... literally, the "Pooping Log" of Catalonia in Spain.
It's a bit like the Mexican piñata in that it makes its appearance at children's festivities during the Advent period leading up to Christmas.
Over the course of several evenings, children "feed" the Log bits of food or sweets so that it can have a really good poo when the big day comes. By the time they are allowed to start whacking the log, the children have worked themselves into a frenzy about the whole affair.
But whereas the piñata is suspended from the ceiling and eventually breaks and spills its goodies onto the kids, El Tió is on the floor and receives a ritual pounding from children wielding sticks until it "defecates" the goodies out of its rear end.
El Tió's rear is covered with a blanket, under which adults have hidden the goodies. The kiddies pound the bejeezus out of El Tió while chanting a "Log Pooping" song which is the well-known melody to a myriad of jump-rope chants around the world.
At a certain point in the chant, the kids shout, "Caga! Caga! Caga" and raise the blanket to discover all the goodies that El Tió has shat for them. "Caga" is of course derived from the ancient Indo-European word, kakkos, and Latin "cacare" which mean "defecate".
Click here to see the Yuletide Pooping Log of Catalan: