Wednesday Weirdness: Legends of Christmas Eve

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageHi, friends. Given next Wednesday is Christmas, this will be my last Wednesday Weirdness post until we enter the New Year. I love the holidays, and am pretty much a sap the entire month of December. With that in mind, I thought I’d share legends related to Christmas Eve. But be warned—not all are warm and fuzzy.

The celebration of Christmas touches each of us in different ways. For me, it is a religious holiday. Also a time for gathering with family. There is a special magic that occurs at Christmas, an enchantment of being that is spiritual and mystical. The power of believe!

The Eve of Christmas is noted for many old world superstitions and beliefs, among them the idea the veil between worlds grows thin allowing the departed to return to the homes of loved ones.

Old table in front of a hearth laden with bowls of food, lighted chandelier of candles hanging above tableIn Scandinavia, people prepared feasts for the spirits, setting a table laden with holiday fare. They had their own festive celebration first, then before retiring for the night, made certain all the bowls and platters were refilled and heaped with food. Jugs brimmed with Yule ale, and a fire was set in the hearth. Chairs were wiped clean of debris with a white cloth. The following morning the cleaning process was repeated. If a bit of earth was discovered, it was considered proof-positive a visitor from the grave had stayed to enjoy the repast.

Another myth related to Christmas Eve involved animals. At the stroke of midnight many believed animals could speak in human voices. The downside? Whoever overheard an animal talk usually met with an untimely end or some other dreadful circumstance.

In Europe it is said cattle kneeled to worship the new-born King, and that bees came together in great numbers to hum a Christmas hymn.

The creepiest legend I found involved a blacksmith. On Christmas Eve a bell tolled, beckoning all the people of the man’s village to midnight mass, but he ignored the summons and continued to work. Not long after, a stranger arrived. Tall, but stooped over, he asked the blacksmith to add a nail to his scythe. When the blacksmith finished the task, the stranger told him to summon a priest for the work would be his last. The next morning the smitty perished, never realizing he had repaired the scythe of the Grim Reaper.

Are you familiar with any of these legends? Do you have others to share? Let me know in the comments. Whether you discover talking animals, friendly phantoms come to call, or just the good cheer of family and friends, I wish you a blessed and merry Christmas Eve!

50 thoughts on “Wednesday Weirdness: Legends of Christmas Eve

  1. I don’t think I’ve heard any of theses, Mae. I certainly enjoyed learning about them. I will be avoiding talking animals and decline to fix any scythes:) I wish you a blessed and wonderful Christmas Eve, too!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Denise. You’ve gotta kind of wonder why a smitty would be working at midnight on Christmas Eve, LOL. Yeah, methinks I’ll be avoiding tall guys with scythes, too. And despite the fact that my cat and I have “discussions” frequently if she ever started talking to me with human words, I run for the nearest door!

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    • I reacted the same way the first time I heard about talking animals, Priscilla. My first thought was—oh, how wondrous and magical. Then the more I thought about it, I kind of freaked.

      In some ways it would be interesting to eavesdrop though and see what they’d chat about among themselves, LOL.

      Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I sometimes wonder if the talking legend started because of the all the animals gathering around the manager when Jesus was born. That’s the only connection I can make–although the end of that legend is definitely NOT friendly!

      I think I came across the grim reaper legend in a book I picked up several years ago. I love exploring folklore!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve heard about the cows gathering on a hill and bowing to the North Star, but none of the others. At first, I thought a talking animal was cool until I read the end- literally! lol
    Some of these would work great in a holiday mystery by you (hint, hint)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oooh, thanks, Jacquie. I’m going to have to tuck some of these away in my story-idea pile.

      I’m unfamiliar with the legend you shared about cows and the North Star. It sounds fascinating. I’m going to have to look that one up. You know how I am about this stuff, LOL.

      And, yeah, I was the same way about the talking animals. It’s amazing how fast I went from–oh, cool–to erm, maybe not! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I have not heard any of these spooky legends, but the one about leaving a feast for those in Spirit world if way cool! And especially if they found evidence of visitors. Thanks for sharing, Mae, and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Wednesday Weirdness: Legends of Christmas Eve | Providing Inspiration,Comfort,and Encouragement – WINDOWS FROM HEAVEN PHOTOGRAPHY-MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  5. Mae, the last one gave me the shivers … what a great tale! I haven’t heard any of these. We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve with a big family gathering late afternoon / early evening and there follows feast before opening of presents! A wonderful celebration, lit by candles and heavenly music! I’ve never heard of the spirits of Scandinavia at Christmas time!

    Merry Christmas, my friend! Xx

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