Today’s column comes to us from The Wild Hunt’s Editor-in-Chief, Manny Tejeda-Moreno. The Wild Hunt’s weekend section is always open for submissions. Please send queries to email@example.com. We’ve all likely heard the classic poem The Twelve Days of Christmas, which probably began as a children’s forfeit game played a couple of centuries ago near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The song commemorates the days that begin with the Feast of Stephen Protomartyr and end with the Feast of Epiphany, or Twelfth Night.
This past weekend saw a host of Krampus activity throughout Central Europe with more Krampus Nacht and Krampus Run events starting tomorrow and the coming weekend. In recent years Krampuslauf (Krampus Run) and Krampusnacht (Krampus Night) celebrations and events have enjoyed a resurgence in many parts of Europe, the UK, and have become increasingly popular in North America. Krampusnacht occurs on the night of December 5, heralding The Feast St. Nicholas on December 6. The most common visual representation of the Krampus is an anthropomorphic goat, reminiscent of a satyr who has turned to the dark side.
TWH — This week, many Pagans, Heathens and polytheists in the Northern Hemisphere are marking the winter solstice with celebrations, feasts, and rituals. The solstice will occur on Thursday, Dec. 21 at 16:28 UTC. It is a day traditionally celebrated for being the longest night and shortest day of the year. This time of year is held sacred within many different modern religious and spiritual traditions, and has a rich history in ancient pagan religions. The solstice time was important to prehistoric peoples in both Ireland and England.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans and Heathens out there, more than our team can write about in depth in any given week. Therefore, the Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.
The Iceland Monitor has reported that the long-awaited Ásatrú temple in Öskjuhlíð in Reykjavik will be completed by summer 2018. The article states that this information was confirmed with the Ásatrú organization’s head chieftain Hilmar Örn Himarsson. The construction proved to be more difficult than planned; however, the work is ongoing. The United National Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added to its “Memory of the World” registry 130 Roman curse tablets that “bear messages from the Roman occupants of Bath seeking revenge from a goddess.” They are the “only artefacts from Roman Britain,” reports UNESCO.
If you were to arrive at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport during the month of December expecting cheerful holiday lights or a jolly fat man in a red suit, you would be in for a bit of a surprise. Instead of being welcomed into the country by the familiar and cheerful figure of Santa Claus, your first encounter would be with slightly menacing, unmistakably witch-like figure: Gryla. Although she has not always been associated with the Yuletide season, Gryla has evolved to become the center of Icelandic Yule and Christmas folklore. While she bears some of the clear markings of the stereotypical witch as a cauldron-stirring hag figure who owns a scary black cat, she is actually described as a troll or ogress in Iceland’s tour guidebooks and articles. Gryla is said to live in a cave hidden deep in the mountains, where she always keeps her cauldron boiling.