Monday, December 29, 2014

The 12 Scares of Christmas: The Yule Cat

Tonight, we continue a seasonal series, exploring the darker side of Christmas. In this season of the darkest nights of the year and ancient traditions celebrating the passing of the season, those of us who are lucky enough to have haunted hearts appreciate the darker, creepy and sometimes terrifying aspects of the winter holiday-- some of which could not be more a part of the Christmas holiday in their own right.

Before we leave Iceland, one more scare of Christmas that lurks there is too good to leave behind. That is the myth of the Yule Cat. 

 According to Icelandic legend, at Christmastime, the Yule Cat lurks in the woods. The monster is a gigantic cat, who exists mainly to eat people who have not received new clothes in time to wear for Christmas Eve. Popular legend also links the cat to Gryla as, of course, her pet house cat. While Gryla was popularizred as a cautionary tale for badly behaved children, the myth of the Yule Cat has been viewed as a cautionary tale to spur productivity in clothing workers, to process the autumn season's wool before Christmas.

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