Honest Myth:South Eastern Europe- Kallikantzaroi

kallikanztaroi_worldtreeToday is TheBetterCup’s and my birthday. We are now turning twenty years of age, and with the sudden realization that we have lived on this planet for twenty years, I did a little research and found a fun little myth that corresponds with this. So I hope you enjoy this particular folklore as much as we did.

This particular myth is found in many places such as Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece (that is how I heard of it, it is huge in Greece). The Kallikantzaroi are Winter Goblins or Christmas Goblins. They are malevolent goblins that dwell underground, but come up during the twelve days of Christmas (from the December 25 to January 5). The name has an unknown meaning, but originates from Greece.

The Kallikantzaroi live underground and saw away at the world tree so that it may fall and bring the world down with it. They are not allowed/able to go back to the surface of the Earth except when the sun is stuck in a certain place in the sky. The twelve days of Christmas are also known as the unbaptized days (maybe it is believed that Jesus was not baptized between those days), and because of that demons are able to escape during that time. They cut at the tree all year and right when they are about to saw through, Christmas comes. The goblins go to the surface to bring trouble to the humans. On the sixth of January, the sun begins to move again and the Goblins must go down back to the underground. At this point the tree has fully healed and they goblins need to start over.

0004_11-300x241Some say that they are humanoids with animal parts, hairy bodies, horse legs, and boar tusks. Some times, they are described as large, sometimes small. They have red burning eyes and giant secondary sex characteristics. They mostly look like little, black devils that are very blind, speak with a lisp, and love to eat other creatures. They are described as dancing when they move.

They mostly escape at night, because during the day humans are more readily able to defend themselves. To scare away these goblins there a few tricks that can be tried:

  • Leave colander on the door step. The goblin will sit on the steps counting the holes of the colnader repeating ‘1, 2…’ They can never finish and say three because three is a mystical number associated with God and by saying it they would die. The goblin will continue to count until sunrise.
  • Burn wood in the fireplace or burn a yule log or stinky shoes. All of these keep the goblins from entering through the fire place (may keep Santa out too).

Any child born on a Saturday are believed to be able to speak and see to the Kallikantzaroi. Any child born during this time (any where from like 21 to like January 6) are in danger of becoming a Kallikantzaroi once they reach adult hood (like twenty years of age). For some, children born near Christmas are thought to change as punishment for their mother’s sin in bearing children at a sacred time of Mary Mother of God.

The Turkish have a similar myth. It is believed that they appear in the first ten days of winter and stand at murky corners. They ask ordinary questions, but to avoid being killed one should always answer all the questions with the word ‘black’.

In the Macedonia (an area in Northern Greece), those who live with a ‘light’ guardian angel undergo this transformation.

I hope you like this. Hopefully TheBetterCup and I can avoid becoming terrible winter goblins!

To learn more go here: www.spiegel.de/international/europe/beware-the-kallikantzaroi-greek-goblins-run-riot-over-christmas-a-597656.html

-Blog Barista (Happy Holidays!)

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