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Ever heard of the Catalan tradition of Tió de Nadal?

By | 20 December, 2022 | 0 comments

Christmas is a time for traditions and, here in Cataluña, there’s one particular very old tradition you might hear about at this time of year in the region, where the protagonist is a wooden log with a smiling face and a red hat to keep warm… everyone, meet Tió de Nadal!

Tió de Nadal, a local Christmas tradition

Passed down from generation to generation, year after year, this light-hearted Christmas tradition may be designed to give the youngest in the household a giggle, but it still brings a smile to the faces of the not-quite-so-young members, too.

It all starts with the children waiting impatiently and excitedly in the days leading up to Christmas, a time when they have to keep Tió very well fed and watered. Typically, they offer the Tió log leftover food from their plates and the peel of their fruit. The better he’s fed, the more generous he’ll be…!

On Christmas Eve, as the excitement reaches a climax, the most anticipated moments arrives… after dinner, families throughout the region gather around their Tió, then the children start to thrash him with sticks they’ve gathered from outside so he starts to… ahem, poop out their gifts…!

While Tió is being roundly beaten, everyone sings a Catalan song to really get into the festive spirit.

Originally, Tió would then be burned on the fireplace to keep the whole house warm over Christmas but, nowadays, as the singing continues – and given lots of homes and apartments don’t typically have open fireplaces anymore – instead, everyone gets to reach under his hat or blanket to take out a gift, usually local delicacies like wafers, cookies or nougat, which everyone shares and enjoys on Christmas Eve.

These days, Tió is also likely to have a special Christmas present for all the children of the family to open on Christmas eve, a tradition synonymous with joy, smiles and happiness that lives on through the ages!


Categories: barcelona

Barcelona, May 13th 2020

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Barcelona, March 24th 2020

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