Yule Cat

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The Yule Cat (Icelandic: Jólakötturinn) is a monster from Icelandic folklore, a huge and vicious cat said to lurk about the snowy countryside during Christmas time and eat people who have not received any new clothes to wear before Christmas Eve.[1] The Yule Cat has become associated with other figures from Icelandic folklore as the house pet of the giantess Grýla and her sons, the Yule Lads.[2]

The threat of being eaten by the Yule Cat was used by farmers as an incentive for their workers to finish processing the autumn wool before Christmas. The ones who took part in the work would be rewarded with new clothes, but those who did not would get nothing and thus would be preyed upon by the monstrous cat. The cat has alternatively been interpreted as merely eating away the food of ones without new clothes during Christmas feasts.[1] The perception of the Yule Cat as a man-eating beast was partly popularized by the poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum in his poem Jólakötturinn.[3]

There is a short cartoon about the Yule Cat, created by Justin East with music by Danny Elfman.[4]


Though referred to as an ancient tradition, written accounts of the Yule Cat have only been located as recently as the nineteenth century.[5]

See also


  1. ^ a b The Yule Cat (Christmas in Iceland 2000)
  2. ^ Jólakötturinn (National Museum of Iceland) (in Icelandic)
  3. ^ Jólakötturinn (Skáldasetur)
  4. ^ "Danny Elfman: Danny Elfman: Project Rabbit & Rogue Challenge". Indi.com. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  5. ^ Magnússon, Haukur (10 December 2008). "The Christmas Cat". Grapevine. Fröken Ltd. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
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