Traditions de Noël

CAGA TIÓ

Caga Tió also comes out on  08 December . It is a small log with a smiley face, wearing the traditional red Catalan hat - the Barretina. The name Caga Tió means 'Poo Log'. Every day between  08 December  and Christmas Eve, children look after the Caga Tió. They cover him with a blanket to make sure that he is warm and they feed him Turron every evening. This is to ensure that he is nice and full so that he will poo out lots of treats on Christmas Eve!

On Christmas Eve, after our large dinner (detailed below), dessert comes courtesy of Caga Tió. The children are given a stick with which they hit the Caga Tió. They sing a special song:

"Caga Tió avellanes I torró
Si no vols cagar
Et donanem un cop de pal."

This translates as:

"Caga Tió hazelnuts and turron
If you don't want to poo
We will hit you with a stick"

The children then reach inside the Caga Tio's blanket and find sweets and small toys. Similar to the sorts of treats that children receive in their stockings from Santa Claus.

ELS PASTORETS(THE SHEPHERD)

One of the essential elements of Catalan Christmas are the performances of the Pastorets (The Little Shepherds), -or Pastorells as they are called in the Balearic Islands. These are performed by amateur theatre groups and are usually staged in social centres, church halls, casinos or theatres. It is a popular theatre genre that, thanks to its roots, tradition and popularity, is considered to be a Catalan theatre classic. The origin of els Pastorets dates back to medieval Christmas celebrations and continued during the sixteenth century. These theatre performances depicting the birth of the Messiah, initially designed to reaffirm the value and the teachings of the dogma and the holy scripture among believers, became customary and traditional in churches.

The unceasing popularity and the undeniable attraction of the Pastorets as a show for the whole family is thanks to the ability of the producers of the genre to maintain the freshness and the ingenuity of the original throughout the centuries, and at the same time, manage to make audiences complicit with the criticisms and mockery of the social and political life of the moment, expressed in couplets, coplas, satire or jokes and improvised to the delight of the public.

MISA DEL GALL(MIDNIGHT MASS)

Missa del Gall, also held in hermitages and sanctuaries and where Christmas songs are sung.

THE NATIVITY SCENE

The custom of representing the birth of Jesus during the Christmas season, to play theatrically through vivid characters or plastic figures, is a deeply rooted tradition in Catalonia. Furthermore, Catalonian crib has a self contained, the caganer, with an origin dating back to the eighteenth century.

In popular tradition in Catalonia, in the manger essential figures (the Virgin and Child are placed Jesus, San Jose, the ox, the mule, the shepherds and kings-worshipers-the announcing angel, etc.) within a landscape with bits of cork and moss. The construction manger is started on 25 November, the day of St. Catherine, and was dismantled after the February 2, Candlemas Day.

The Catalan tradition, besides the religious figures is a result popular inspiration. The media appears caganer hidden in a corner, going belly outdoors, often with a pipe in his mouth. Traditionally dressed in white shirt, dark pants and beret, the caganer is, unlike the other characters in the manger, reinterpreted and revised annually by figuristas. You can see all kinds, and increasingly, representing leading figures frompoliticians to cartoon characters, sportsmen. This annual metamorphosis caganer has become, over time, a reflection of the political, economic and social current of the country and the world.

Catalan passion for cribs, however, has been beyond representation through plastic figures. The dream of being able to walk around the crib moss, through forests and rivers, surrounded by cliffs and bonfires with pastors who sleep rough, reality in many living nativity scenes that take place throughout the country since mid last century.

THE THREE KINGS

The tradition of the Three Kings is one of the most beautiful there over the holidays, loved by all, especially children, who have spent months waiting for the morning of the 6th TO GET ALL THEIR PRESENTS.

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