"El Caganer" translates as "The Crapper" or "The Shitter", which is a little figure that appears in Nativity scenes in Catalan and the surrounding regions of southern France and Spain. No-one is sure of the origins of the little pooping man, other than it appeared in nativity scenes around the 17th and 18th century.
Even theories on what he represents vary, from just that he's there as humorous figure of fun for children, to that the he's a good luck figure who represents the 'every man', as we all poo. Whatever the reason, in modern times the traditional caganer (pictured left) is often replaced with famous figures from contemporary history. From celebrities to politicians, no one is exempt from being made into a caganer at Christmas.
The Tió de Nadal, which translates as "Christmas log", but popularly referred to as Caga tió or "Shitting log", is a character in Catalan mythology. Originally just a simple hollowed out log, the addition of legs and smiling face are more recent. According to tradition however, starting on the 8th of December which is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, you are supposed to give the Tió a little bit to eat every night and then cover him with a little blanket so that he will not be cold at night.
On Christmas Day or Christmas Eve (depending on the traditions of the family), the Tió is brought out and ordered to poo. To make it poo, the children beat the Tió with sticks, while singing various songs of related to the Tió de Nadal. The Tió "poos" small gifts for the children, which were secretly hidden under the blanket by the adults earlier.