It’s a Catalan Christmas at Milkwood Farm this year. Which means that, in pride of place, sits Caga Tió. Caga Tió is a happy ‘uncle’ who is actually a log. You feed him fruit for 2 weeks leading up to Christmas and, on the appointed day, he poos out presents of nougat. And you sing to him and ask him not to produce sardines instead.
Now tell me this is not the ultimate Christmas tradition. I’ve felt pretty mild about Christmas these last few years but Caga Tió has changed everything.
The reason for Caga Tió’s arrival is Gigi, as Gigi, apart from being amazing and also Floyd’s wife, is Catalan.
The Catalans are an interesting bunch who also have a thing going with a character called Le Caganer which translates politely as ‘the defecator’ – a small guy in a traditional Catalan hat in the act of squatting down. He’s a regular in Catalan nativity scenes.
Where I am going with all this. Ok you might be familiar with the fact that we’re quite passionate about facing up to the facts of nutrient cycling in the form of humanure.
We produce it every day, it’s full of nutrients, and can be processed safely for cycling back through various growing systems, reliving pressure on many inputs we currently manufacture with massive environmental footprints to create ‘fertility’ for the land we grow food on.
Le Caganer is, apparently, giving baby Jesus a gift (as he only has that of himself to give, being a peasant)… the gift of fertility for the earth.
Sure the metaphor is a bit raw for some folks, but it’s at the heart of everything we’re all hoping for in the future – a regenerative earth where humans play an active role in ensuring ongoing fertility for future generations, using renewable resources.
Viva Le Caganer!
We had heard about Caga Tió while traveling through Spain a while back, but it’s another thing to have him front and center in our woolshed.
So we’ve learned the song, fed him well, and Socks the woolshed cat has even kept him company. We’re ready for our nougat and we hope not to receive Sardines.
Here’s the only video I could find of the Caga Tió song with english subtitles, so please excuse the slightly gruesome cartoons and weird addition of a celebrity chef.
Also the whole whacking with a stick is optional, we might just try tickling him instead:
So may your day be happy and full of nougat, and not too many sardines.