Saturday 7 December 2019

The Krampus Kalendar: G is for GRYLA

Gryla is a giantess from Icelandic mythology with an appetite for the flesh of mischievous children, who she cooks up in a large pot. Her husband, Leppaludi, is lazy and mostly stays at home in the cave they share.

Gryla made her first appearance in the 13th century compilation of Norse mythology, Prose Edda, but no specific connection to Christmas was mentioned until the 17th century.

She is enormous and her appearance repulsive. The oldest poems about Gryla describe her as a parasitic beggar who walks around asking parents to give her their disobedient children, although her plans can be thwarted by giving her food or by chasing her away.

Originally, she lived in a small cottage, but in later poems she appears to have been forced out of town and into a faraway cave.

The Yule Lads are the sons of Gryla and Leppaludi. They are a group of 13 mischievous trolls, who steal from or harass the population and all have descriptive names.

They come to town one by one during the last 13 nights before Christmas and leave small gifts in shoes that children have placed on window sills; imagine a whole family of Father Christmases. However, if a child has been badly-behaved the trolls will leave a potato in the shoe instead.

Gryla and the Yule Lads appear in 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas, and may also crop up in 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas, which is currently funding on Kickstarter.


To find out more about the festive season and its many traditions, order your copy of the Chrismologist's Christmas Explained: Robins, Kings and Brussel Sprouts today!

The book is also available in the United States as Christmas Miscellany: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Christmas.


No comments: