Saturday, January 2, 2016

Iceland's Elf Obsession

From National Geographic:
Roads have been diverted around boulders where the elves, or álfar in Icelandic, supposedly reside. A former member of parliament even swears his life was saved in a car accident by a family of elves. A wintertime elf-themed stroll through Hafnarfjörður spotlights the 13 Yule Lads, pranksters with names like Hurðaskellir (Door Slammer) and Kertasnikír (Candle Stealer). Local children often leave out shoes for the Yule Lads to fill with treats.

The holidays are an especially fortuitous time of year to see elves; on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, they’re known to be on the move, searching for new homes. Walks often pass Hamarinn, the cliff where the elfin king and queen are said to hold court, and Hellisgerði Park, a solidified lava flow the elves find especially homey. In December visitors can embrace the Yuletide spirit even further at the popular Christmas market downtown. (Read more.)


Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Be it noted: this has gone on through not just Lutheran but also Catholic centuries of Iceland.

In other words, believing in existence of álfar, without obviously worshipping them with either latria or even dulia, is not inconsistent with the Catholic Faith.

julygirl said...

It is the same in Ireland, but involves their beliefs regarding Fairies. Farmers will plow around mounds that are thought to be inhabited by Fairies. There is a story about an English construction company that was developing a piece of property and destroyed an area known to be inhabited by Fairies. The company suffered all sorts of trouble such as a ship load of construction equipment sinking, etc. I believe they eventually abandoned the project.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

And Ireland is Catholic to this day. Or, at least used to be so up to 1986.