A Walkabout Holiday in Barcelona, Spain
This is my first Christmas outside California, and a very rare Christmas while traveling outside the country. Only once in the last 25 years, did Keith and I not spend Christmas in our own home.
But this year we are spending the holiday season on walkabout in Barcelona, Spain with both of our adult children. They are having their first Christmas away from California in Europe.
We selected Barcelona for our holiday because of its wonderful Mediterranean climate, it's famous food culture, and it’s interesting Christmas traditions. We are playing along and enjoying a Christmas away from sales, commercials, and holiday specials. Christmas has a different attitude in Spain.
It is going to be a scatological Christmas. On Christmas Eve in Barcelona, it is time for the little shit log to shine. Children gather around the red-hatted branch and beat him with sticks while singing the traditional Tió de Nadal song.
"Shit log, Shit nougats, Hazelnuts and mató cheese, If you don't shit well, I'll hit you with a stick, Shit log!"
Then comes the miracle: the kids look under Tió de Nadal's blanket and discover that the dear log has pooped out a pile of candies and presents.
Then they burn the log.
No kidding. They really do this.
Spain also appreciates Nativity scenes. The Christmas market is filled with hand crafted wise men, animals, baby Jesus’, and everything you need to set up your own collectable, personal, manger scene.
But in Cataluña, they make sure their manger is extra fertile.
At the Christmas market, we purchased a little bit of a nativity scene and a “Caganer.” The Caganer is a traditional Catalan figure within the nativity scene, traditionally represented as a farmer with a Catalan hat, a red girdle and black pants. It is believed that with their poop, these farmers fertilize the soil for the flowing year. The figure symbolized luck and joy, and it is said that if you don’t include it in the nativity scene it can bring misfortune. www.caganer.com
No kidding, a guy shits in the manger, and it's a very good thing.
On Christmas Eve, we will be celebrating by cooking a traditional Spanish fish soup, around our little Spanish Christmas tree, and we will watch our traditional holiday movies “A Christmas Story” and our favorite, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Our present to each other will be our trip together to Spain.
If we have been good, Santa may also fill our stockings, despite our change of address.
If you are spending the holiday in your own home, or in another country, I hope that you have a holiday season filled with love, peace and joy.
Joyful holiday wishes to you.
Cindy, Keith, Hilary, Patrick Whelan
and Santa, the Shit Log and Crapper too.