Hello Everyone! With the holidays here, I thought I’d focus this week’s entry on the Christmas decorations (as well as Christmas lore) that I got to see and learn about this year while in Reykjavík. Walking around the main squares of town, I saw Ingólfstorg and trees all wrapped in lights, as well as bell shaped decorations hung up on wires by the city. In addition, large Christmas trees strung with lights were stationed on street corners. Though, by far one of the largest and most interesting decorations lies on Lækjartorg: a large statue of the “Yule/Christmas Cat,” Jólakötturinn in Icelandic, completely covered in lights.
While I had known peripherally about the legend of the Christmas Cat–something about it eating children who don’t get new clothes, I didn’t know the full story until this year. Apparently, Jólakötturinn is the cat of Grýla, one of the worst trolls, and also a cannibalistic child-eater. While the Christmas Cat just eats children who don’t get new clothes, Grýla eats children who haven’t been good. Stalking around with a sack of naughty children on her back, Grýla makes short work of her captives. The terror of every Icelandic child, Grýla is the worst of the worst (she makes Santa look wimpy for merely giving out coal).
So, this Christmas I (and hopefully you) strive to be good and get some new clothes to stave off both the Christmas Cat and Grýla. Merry Christmas everyone, and I hope you enjoy the photos of the decorations around Iceland!