Tió de Nadal

The Tió de Nadal ( “Christmas Log”), also known simply as Tió (“Trunk” or “Log”, a big piece of cut wood) or Tronca (“Log”), is a character in Catalan mythology relating to a Christmas tradition widespread in Catalonia and some regions of Aragon. A similar tradition exists in other places, such as the Cachafuòc or Soc de Nadal in Occitania. In Aragon it is also called Tizón de Nadal or TozA. Tió de Nadal  is a hollow log about thirty centimetres long. Recently, the Tió has come to stand up on two or four stick legs with a broad smiling face painted on its higher end, enhanced by a little red sock hat (a miniature of the traditional barretina) and often a three-dimensional nose. Those accessories have been added only in recent times, altering the more traditional and rough natural appearance of a dead piece of wood.

Beginning with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), one gives the tió a little bit to “eat” every night and usually covers him with a blanket so that he will not be cold. The story goes that in the days preceding Christmas, children must take good care of the log, keeping it warm and feeding it, so that it will defecate presents on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day or, in some households, on Christmas Eve, one puts the tió partly into the fireplace and orders it to defecate. The fire part of this tradition is no longer as widespread as it once was, since many modern homes do not have a fireplace. To make it defecate, one beats the tió with sticks, while singing various songs of Tió de Nadal.

The tradition says that before beating the tió all the kids have to leave the room and go to another place of the house to pray, asking for the tió to deliver a lot of presents. This makes the perfect excuse for the relatives to do the trick and put the presents under the blanket while the kids are praying. The tió does not drop larger objects, as those are considered to be brought by the Three Wise Men. It does leave candies, nuts and torrons. Depending on the region of Catalonia, it may also give out dried figs. What comes out of the Tió is a communal rather than individual gift, shared by everyone there.

National Brownie Day

National Brownie Day takes place annually on 8 December. Brownies were created in the United States at the end of the 19th century. A cross between a cookie and cake, they soon became very popular across the country. There aretwo types of food based brownie chocolate brownies and  blonde brownies. A blonde brownie is made with brown sugar and no chocolate and is often called a blondie. Chocolate Brownies were created after a group of ladies a requested A small cake-like dessert that could be eaten from a boxed lunch while they were attending a fair in the late 1800s. So A Chicago chef, working at the Palmer House Hotel, created the first brownie for the ladies. This featured an apricot glaze and walnuts. The Palmer House Hotel still serves their original recipe for brownies on their menu.

The earliest recipes for brownies comparable to those familiar to us today are found published in regional cookbooks and newspapers around the turn of the last century. The 1904 Laconia, NH Home Cookery, the 1904 Chicago, IL Service Club Cook Book, and an April 2, 1905, edition of The Boston Globe are three early examples. In 1906, Fannie Merritt Farmer published a recipe in an edition of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book. There are Three myths that have gained popularity over the years, regarding the creation of the brownie, that A chef accidentally added melted chocolate to biscuit dough. Acook forgot to add flour to the batter and A housewife did not have baking powder and improvised with this new treat.

More events and holidays occurring on December 8

  • Take It in the Ear Day
  • National Brownie Day
  • National Christmas Tree Day
  • Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day

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