It is told that the cat Jólakötturinn hunts children during Christmas time. If they don’t receive new clothes for Christmas, he and his owner, Grýla the ogress, will come and eat the children. Her many sons, the Jólasveinar, come from the wilderness too, disturbing flocks of sheep, stealing food and slamming doors during the night in order to wake up all the inhabitants of the house.
The elves do not like to be called this, they prefer the appellation Huldufólk (the hidden people). Only the pure of heart can see them, unless they decide to show themselves to someone. There are over fifty different types of elves.
These figures animate the legends of Norse folklore and many Icelanders still grow up hearing the stories today. A high percentage of the population believes in these stories, but even those who are sceptical prefer not to risk to be disrespectful toward them. In fact, it has happened in several occasions that the machinery employed for the construction of roads or buildings would stop working with no logical reason. In these cases, it is believed that the rocks that were about to be removed were actually a house inhabited by the hidden people (álfasteinar). They have also appeared in dreams to people asking to not remove neither damage their houses. For this reason, ancient rocks have been left in place and the roads or houses have been built around them.
Those who visit Iceland are faced with a very powerful nature and can only begin to believe in the existence of trolls. Here, you can see trolls sculpted in the surrounding landscape: in fact, if surprised by the sunlight, they turn into huge stone sculptures! The hidden people can be sometimes mischievous, but they often offer their help to the Icelandic community. In general, they are capable of causing unexplainable happenings.
The presence of all these creatures can be felt at any time of year, either immersed in nature or Icelandic cities at night, but the energy is especially strong during the liminal month of December.
This project was realized during December 2022 at SÍM Residency in Iceland.
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