The Shit Log, Catalonia
Locally known as the Caga Tió (“Shit Log”), or more kindly the Tió de Nadal (“Christmas Log”), this Catalan tradition is…unique. Each year, a log is given legs made of twigs, a smiley face, and a cozy red blanket for its holiday debut on December 8th’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The log sticks around as seasonal home décor until Christmas, and each night the children of the house feed it dried fruit and nuts. On Christmas Eve, it’s time for the log to poop. The children who cared for Caga Tió all month long strike it with sticks while they recite a traditional song demanding that the log excretes sweets. On Christmas day, they hope to find candy and presents – Caga Tió‘s ‘shit’ – in the fireplace under its blanket.
Cobwebbed Christmas Trees, Ukraine
It’s beginning to look a lot like…Halloween? In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are adorned with spiders and cobwebs. Sounds spooky, but these unlikely decorations are actually rooted in a rather heartwarming tradition. An Eastern European folklore tells the tale of a penniless widow who discovered a small pine tree growing through the floor of her hut. She was too poor to decorate the tree for her family, and on Christmas Eve her children tearfully went to bed without holiday cheer. But they awoke to find the tree adorned with intricate cobwebs that turned to silver and gold in the morning sunlight. Overjoyed at this Christmas miracle, the widow and her children lived prosperously ever after. Today, Ukrainians continue this humble Christmas tradition, adorning their trees with fake spiders and cobwebs made from crystals, silver and gold tinsel, glitter, and paper.
Radish Sculptures, Oaxaca
La Noche de Rábanos (the Night of the Radishes) has been a recognized holiday tradition in the Mexican city of Oaxaca since 1897. Each year on December 23rd, the city held a Christmas market where talented wood carvers would sell their crafts. Noting the popularity of the carvers’ stalls, a group of f