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Christmas Creatures

As we near Christmas we thought we would bring you some of the world’s strangest creatures that are remembered at this time of year. We’ve picked two interesting characters that you need to look out for.

The first is Frau Perchta. There has been many a tale told in Germany and Austria about this frightful woman, some call her a witch! Her story is thought to have descended from a legendary Alpine goddess of nature, who tends the forest most of the year and only interacts with humans only during Christmas. She is known for handing out both rewards and punishments during the 12 days of Christmas. So far so good? She is easy to spot as she is said to have a goose foot, which is not all that common in Herefordshire, so you’re bound to notice her. If you’re wondering why a goose foot, well it’s believed that goose fat helps witches fly.

Frau Perchta is notorious for her gruesome punishment of the sinful. So if you’ve been naughty, greedy or idle this year and you happen to come upon her, we suggest you approach her with caution or perhaps run away as she’s most likely making plans to rip out your internal organs and replace them with garbage. Not quite the 12 days of Christmas were used to! We prefer the lords a leaping, the maids a milking and the drummers drumming. They may cause a bit of a stir but at least your innards will remain intact!

Imagine it’s New Year’s Eve, your celebrations are in full swing and you’re just about to ring in the new year with friends when you hear a knock at the door. Looming in the doorway is the most scary looking creature with a horse’s skull, wearing a long, billowing cloak, being trailed by people chanting and singing. No it’s not your latest guests arriving in fancy dress it’s the the skeleton mare of Welsh folklore Mari Lwyd, loving referred to as the Christmas pony zombie.

She rises from the dead in winter and roams the streets with her undead entourage, her sole aim being to get into your home. This activity is acted out by volunteers who parade a horse skull on a pole draped in white cloth around the streets. She’s easy to spot, with fake eyeballs and the scary mouth slightly ajar and menacing. On New Year’s Eve, you must engage her in a rhymed battle of wits to keep her at bay. So if you’re not too paralysed with terror by this point, you might want to invite her and her entourage in, we have a feeling they know how to party!

These stories are curated from many sources and retold in our fun ESL style, in the true spirit of Folklore.

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