The Icelandic Christmas folklore of Jólakötturinn, depicts mountain-dwelling characters, in this case, a Yule Cat, who come to town during Christmas. The Yule Cat is said to be a large and wicked murder floof who lurks in the depths of the snowy countryside.
And once a year, during Christmas time, the Yule Cat comes out and eats people who haven't gotten any new clothes to wear before Christmas Eve.
In this holiday-themed and interesting new series created by PBS, called Monstrum, and hosted by Dr. Emily Zarka, we learn all about the Yule Cat
Zarka explains, in the video, why and how this legend came to be:
"The threat of the Yule Cat represents a rather practical problem—the need for warm clothes and successful wool production. Iceland began exporting wool in the Middle Ages, and it became vital to the Icelandic economy and survival. During this time, wool related chores were the responsibility of the entire household. …the largest tasks at hand were spinning and weaving. … In the past, Christmas gifts among most people were sparse and usually consisted of some small piece of clothing—but that was only possible if everyone had participated in the annual production of wool and done their fair share of the work. …Because the Yule Cat only attacks people who do not receive new clothes, this monster likely emerged as a response to the importance of wool production, scaring children (and even adults) into finishing their textile work in time for Christmas."
Spooky stuff! Happy Holidays to all and look out for that Yule Cat come next Christmas!