With Christmas around the corner people start thinking about presents, decorations and delicious food. But Christmas is much more than that. In some countries, they even have pretty strange traditions.
Caga Tió and El Caganer (Catalonia, Spain)
You all know the typical Christmas stocking, an empty sock that gets filled with presents and candy by Santa Claus. In Catalonia they have something very different. Caga Tío or poop log is a hollow log that gets filled with candy. In the days before Christmas, children have to feed Caga Tío. When it’s finally Christmas Eve, they beat the log with a stick while it poops out the candy and gifts. They do this while singing the Caga Tío song: ‘Caga tió! No caguis arengades que són salades, caga turrons, que són molt bons!’. This means ‘Oh pooping log! Do not poop herrings ’cause they are salty, do poop nougat that it’s delicious!’
Besides the Caga Tío, Catalonia also has the tradition of putting a pooping man, El Caganer, in their nativity stable. The idea is that El Caganer reminds us of the fact that everything we get from nature has to go back to nature. Because of its success, they even started making small dolls of pooping celebrities.
Consoda Feast and Cepo de Natal (Portugal)
They have the tradition in Portugal to set plates for dead relatives at the Christmas dining table. It’s said that the spirit of the relative will come and will bring good luck to the household.
The Portuguese also have their own Christmas log, the Cepo de Natal. They burn the log and save its ashes. Then they sprinkle the ashes in their fireplace during thunderstorms to protect their house. It’s a common believe that no lighting will strike near the log’s ashes.
The Kallikantzaroi is a part of Greek folklore. It’s said that these evil goblins haunt families during the twelve days of Christmas. There are a few ways to keep them away. One of them is burning your shoes: the awful smell will keep the Kallikantzaroi away. Another way of stopping the goblins is keeping a pig jaw inside your chimney. That way they won’t be able to climb down your chimney.
But that’s not all, any child that is born during the twelve days of Christmas is in danger of transforming into a Kallikantzaros. When the children grow up into adults they can become one of these goblins. The only antidote is binding the baby in garlic.
Hiding Brooms (Norway)
According to Norwegian tradition, Christmas Eve brings all types of evil spirits and witches out. As we all know, witches love brooms and during Christmas Eve they will search houses for brooms to ride on. To stop the witches and evil spirits, you must hide your brooms in the safest place possible before bedtime.
Another Christmastime superstition involves a gnome called Nisse. He guards all of the farm animals and is known as a gift bearer. But if Norwegian children do not place a bowl of food for Nisse, he will play tricks on them.