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The illuminaton of the Yule Cat

- Blog

On Saturday the 16th of November at 15:30, the illumination of the famous Icelandic Yule Cat will take place on Lækjartorg square. The mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B. Eggertsson will welcome the cat with a few words, and the choir Graduale Futuri will sing some Christmas songs. We also heard that the infamous troll parents of the Yule Lads, Grýla and Leppalúði will be there to greet and meet guests. 

The Yule Cat is a huge and vicious cat who is described as lurking about the snowy countryside during Christmas time and eating people who have not received any new clothes to wear before Christmas Eve. He is the house pet of Grýla and her sons.

Though referred to as an ancient tradition, written accounts of the Yule Cat have only been located as recently as the 19th century. 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 described as merely eating away the food of ones without new clothes during Christmas feasts. The perception of the Yule Cat as a man-eating beast was partly popularized by poems of Jóhannes úr Kötlum as with the rest of the folklore.