We are on our 4th day of our theme week, Christmas Characters from Around the World. Today, we’re talking about Gryla and her creepy family, who are part of Christmas traditions in Iceland. Gryla is a giantess who lives in the mountains of Iceland with her husband, a troll, their 13 sons, the Yule Lads, and their cat, the Yule Cat. Gryla comes down from the mountains each Christmas to search for naughty children. She is said to eat children as her favorite snack, and her favorite meal is a stew of naughty kids for which her appetite is insatiable. Her children are the 13 Yule Lads. These mischievous pranksters visit houses during the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Each night, one Yule Lad visits. Each individual Yule Lad ranges from a mere prankster, to a homicidal monster who eats children. Like mother, like son, I suppose? Gryla’s cat, the Yule Cat, is huge, black, vicious cat who roams the countryside during Christmastime, looking for people to eat who have no received any new clothes to wear before Christmas Eve. Apparently the Yule Cat was used as a threat by farmers as an incentive for their workers to finish processing the autumn wool before Christmas.
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