After the popularity of this post on Belsnickel, today, the eve of the Winter Solstice, I thought I'd bring you the legend that is ....
See if you can guess?
- A spirit of the woods, a protector of agriculture, honoured as the sacred embodiment of the earth itself
- A deity of the hearth and home, of fertility and rebirth
- Associated with both the evergreens of Yule, the holly and the mistletoe, as well as the winter snow.
- They are known to give gifts to women at the time of the Winter Solstice
- Often thought of as a toothless old hag. In one fairytale as an old woman who rewards a hard working young girl with gold, her equally lazy sister with a large kettle of pitch poured over her head
Thought to have derived from the Scandinavian being known as the huldra, the festival of Frau Holda (aka Frau Holle) is celebrated in the midst of winter.
Considered to have ridden with witches, to have travelled through the skies to attend great feasts. As early as the beginning of the eleventh century she was known as one of those women capable of ...
'going out through closed doors in the silence of the night, leaving their sleeping husbands behind'.
You know my favourite thing about Frau Holle though?
No, not that the Brothers Grimm saw fit to include her story (read it here) in a book , Kinder-und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales), though that is kind of wonderful, BUT that the falling snowflakes are said to be her shaking their feathery pillow.