How do you spell Tutti Frutti, anyway?  The Internet was of no help, it just added six more possibilities to the three I was already grappling with.  If anyone knows for sure, I’m all ears.

Did you ever wonder about the origins of Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo?  Me either, but thanks to a recent article in The New York Times Sunday magazine, I’m going to guess he is a direct descendant of a Catalonian Tió de Nadal.  I’ve summarized this Old World Christmas ritual in a Vers Beaucoup, a poetry form whose name means “many rhymes.”  A Vers Beaucoup is made up of one or more quatrains that adhere to the rhyme scheme below:

Line 1:  a – a – a
Line 2:  a – b – b
Line 3:  b – c – c
Line 4:  c – d – d


Blows my mind, odd traditions I find outlined
in the NY Times.  Kids abroad feed a “pet log”
then flog it with sticks until it magically shits
nougats.  Scatological sugarplums, yum yum!

As if this custom was not weird enough, the article went on to report that Catalonian Nativity scenes often include a “caganer,” a defecator inconspicuously squatting somewhere in the vicinity of the crèche.  He is believed to bring good luck by fertilizing the earth.  As if the ox, ass, sheep, and camels don’t produce enough manure!  If you know of any other bizarre holiday traditions, please leave me a comment.  I would love to hear about them.


  1. Elyse January 6, 2019 / 9:06 am

    Oh my. You topped my poo-related posts with this one! Thanks for alerting me.

    Hope you are well. I have not, in truth been around the blogosphere much — sigh. No reason, just not feeling the urge these days!

    Stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 6, 2019 / 10:04 am

      Just think, if you moved to Catalonia, you would be revered as a goddess! The greenest among us here in the USA have composting toilets and fertilize gardens with human-ure. Guess that’s nothing new. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu January 6, 2019 / 9:30 am

    Maybe the caganer reflects the attitudes some secretly have about Christmas. After all, it can be a rather hectic holiday to handle, and buying gifts for ungrateful recipients isn’t much fun. So I think the caganer is a hell of a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 6, 2019 / 10:35 am

      In Catalonia, the caganer is a positive rather than negative character, a bringer of fertilizer and a good harvest. He (or she) is placed on the fringes of the scene, often behind a tree. The most popular caganers in recent years have been beloved celebrities like Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth. But buy yourself one online and attach whatever significance you wish. I found the NYT’s Tio de Nadal story compelling… from December 8 through Christmas, the kids leave food and water for the Tio (log) each day and tuck it in with a warm blanket. After the kids go to bed, the adults make the food and water disappear and even leave evidence, like the peels from the oranges. On Christmas Eve, the adults hide dried fruits, candies, and small gifts under the blanket covering the Tio’s rear end then have the kids beat it with sticks and sing songs to force/encourage the Tio to shit out goodies for them. Everyone shares in the spoils. They don’t do Santa Claus and flying reindeer. The big stuff comes on January 6 (Epiphany) and is brought by The Three Kings on flying camels. So they’re just now opening presents their parents bought for half price at after-Christmas sales. Maybe we need to rethink our holiday traditions? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu January 6, 2019 / 10:50 am

        I don’t know. This just sounds to me like everyone has dropped acid in Catalonia. But I do like the idea of buying gifts at half-price. That right there is an epiphany.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. K E Garland January 7, 2019 / 12:43 pm

    LOL! I forgot all about Mr. Hankey! Thanks for resurrecting that and making me laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 7, 2019 / 2:37 pm

      So you were a South Park fan, too! As for Tios and Caganers, who knew there were such poo-centric cultures out there? That’s why I read the New York Times, to broaden my horizons. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. timkeen40 January 19, 2019 / 3:33 pm

    In Catalonia, as in the U.S, someone always trying to crap on Christmas.

    Loved the post.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan January 19, 2019 / 4:16 pm

      Thanks, Tim. I was surprised at how varied traditions can be, even within the Christian religion. By the same token, people of other religions might celebrate or express their faith quite differently so we shouldn’t be too quick to generalize. Caganers are not widely available here in the US; you’d have to get it online if you want one. But be careful, dot.coms know what you buy. Such a purchase might activate the dreaded poo algorithm (see related post): 🙂


  5. circumstance227 February 23, 2019 / 5:39 pm

    I remember you mentioning this post to me a while back. Tradition or not, I will keep my creches defecator-free, thank you. As to your question about holiday traditions, check out the Austrian “Krampus” in YouTube. My husband still suffers from a childhood trauma thanks to them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 23, 2019 / 5:51 pm

      Krampus, huh? I will have to check it out. It can’t be any worse than torturing a smiley log until it shits Christmas presents. Can it? 🙂


      • Just Joan February 23, 2019 / 8:35 pm

        YIKES! Krampus goes door-to-door looking for misbehaved children and whipping them with a chain? Bet Austrian kids do their homework and chores and never fight or talk back. Given the choice, I’d take the smiley log that shits presents. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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