The Yule Cat (Icelandic Folklore)
The Yule Cat (Icelandic: Jólakötturinn or Jólaköttur) is a monster from Icelandic folklore, a huge and vicious cat said to lurk about the snowy countryside during Yuletide to eat people who have not received any new clothes to wear before Yule (Christmas Eve). 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.
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 Yule. The ones who took part in the work would be rewarded with new clothes, but those who were lazy 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. The perception of the Yule Cat as a man-eating beast was partly popularized by the poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum in his poem Jólakötturinn.
The oldest written sources on the Yule Cat are from the Nineteenth Century.
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