Welcome to this SPECIAL BONUS EPISODE of Supernatural Iceland! For a extra dose of winter cheer we’re bringing you all you need to know about Iceland’s festive folklore. But be warned, like a lot of Iceland’s traditions, it’s less ‘comfort and joy’ and more thieves, trolls and cannibals…
Icelandic Christmas traditions centre around the thirteen Yulelads – but in fact, originally, there were many more. Although these cheeky chaps seem like child-friendly joy givers today, they had a far worse reputation centuries ago. Their mother still has a pretty horrible reputation, for there isn’t a child in Iceland that doesn’t fear that Grýla will come after them if they don’t behave. And then, of course, there is Grýla’s cruel black troll-cat, that we just call Jólakötturinn, or the Christmas cat.
Join Valur Grettisson, editor-in-chief of Reykjavík Grapevine, as he explores the world of folklore, other-worldly visits and strange happenings in Iceland. Meet ghosts, ghouls, goblins and even UFOs as we travel around the country seeking out the the strange and unusual.
We recommend turning on captions for this video, as there are quite a few Icelandic words used.
Want more supernatural Iceland in your life? Check out Grapevine’s bookshop for a selection of publications on ghost stories, folk tales, murder mysteries and more.
Remember, WINE and CONNOISSEUR members get access to new Supernatural Iceland episodes a month before anyone else! Consider joining as member to support the work that we do at Reykjavík Grapevine, and to get your next episode of Supernatural Iceland ahead of the crowd.
You can join our Youtube Membership here.
Watch on our YouTube channel
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!