The Christmas Cat - The fifth door

Mine got a little nervous when they saw this topic because they thought that once was quite enough, thank you very much.
Gundel said she would move in with my sister and der Dekan just showed me his fangs.
I could calm them down
quickly, though. I'm talking about Iceland's Yule Cat or Jólakötturinn.

Jólakötturinn - picture by Atli TýrÆgisson on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Iceland has many Christmas traditions and stories. There's the tradition of giving books for Christmas, special food, visiting the graves of their loved ones, a Christmas tree and lights, but there are also Grýla, a troll woman, her husband, her thirteen sons, the Yule Lads, who are mischievous pranksters and visit children on the days leading up to Christmas, one after another ... and there is their cat Jólakötturinn.

Jólakötturinn is a giant cat that roams the land after Christmas. He looks into the windows to see if the children have got new clothes for Christmas. If not, he punishes them by eating their food, some say, but the more common story is that he eats the children themselves or how Haukur S. Magnússon puts in The Reykjavík Grapevine: "This is the kind of message Icelanders like to send out in their folklore: if you do not have the money or means of acquiring new items of clothing before the festival of lights, you will be eaten by a gigantic cat."

Oldest written records are from the 19th century, but the story itself probably dates back to the Dark Ages and has a background. If people were too lazy to process the wool before winter, they would have to suffer in winter. If children didn't help with the household chores, including preparing the wool for making clothes, well, tough break.
I guess we all know the story of the grashopper and the ant which teaches us the same lesson. Get things done in time and don't be lazy or terrible things will happen.
And in Iceland that's being eaten by a terrifying cat.

Now der Dekan says he wants to be
Jólakötturinn when he grows up!

Let's finish this with a song by Björk (you can find the lyrics translated into English here).


  1. Wow! This is a Christmas story I hadn’t heard before. Some of the old folklore is truly dark.


    1. Dark, but so interesting if you did a little. Be glad you have a little Christmas puppy at home! :-D

  2. I have him hanging on my Christmas tree I bought one in Iceland, SO I think I can be lazy I have him to protect me!

    1. That is so cool! I would like one as an ornament, I'll have to look next year!

  3. I think der Daken could give Jólakötturinn a run for his money right now - I'm afraid to think of what der Daken will become when fully grown.

    1. LOL.
      Ask me about being afraid! Had you seen me mentioning that he tried to pull my braid away ... which happened to have me attached to it??