Political Dresser

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History of Jólakötturinn or the Yule Cat

You can get your own Krampus Tee or stitch sampler.Obviously there are no known photographs of the Yule Cat, but trust us, there are many frightening childhood doodles. You might have spent the weekend battling Krampus with Fargo’s Allison Toolman, but there are plenty of other creepy Christmas creatures from other cultures to get to know, which is why here at PD, during the lead up to the holiday, we’ve decided to introduce a few.

To start us off, we have Jólakötturinn otherwise known as the Yule Cat.

In case you thought Grumpy Cat was bad with that licensing lawsuit, little kiddos in Iceland have been warned for centuries about the Yule Cat that likes to eat lazy children.

Traditionally children would receive new clothing around the holidays, as a symbol of their hard work throughout the year. Therefore, the Yule Cat was always able to spot the lazy kids in the crowd, because they’d be the ones in last year’s shabby fashions.Nowadays you can even purchase a stuffed Yule Cat to torment your children with.

Poetry published in the nineteenth century about the Yule Cat added another dimension to the story, this time one of giving, where children that were good and had received their clothes could also donate some of their new togs to the lazier children to prevent them from being eaten.

Hey, Iceland has never been short on clever ideas. 

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