These days life itself can be a little overwhelming and now, particularly at this time of year (I can’t believe I’m saying this), Christmas can be a little much. All the incessant cheerful music and sparkly decorations and gooey commercials can sometimes leave you feeling like you have been beaten over the head with a candy cane. So, to cleanse your palate of the sugar high let us take a glimpse into the not-so-sweet side of Christmas legends and lore.
We begin right here within Canada. Although we may not hold the same kind of ancient history as other parts of the world we can look back to our Nation’s roots and thank the Inuit for this first contribution of Christmas creepiness.
It is the eve of Old Christmas day in Labrador, January 6th. Nalujuk Night. It’s very cold and dark and the community gathers anxiously to await the arrival of The Nalujuk. A Nalujuk or many Nalujuit, arrive from the eastern coast on the sea ice carrying crude handmade weapons, are clad from head to toe in traditional furs and seal skin boots, and their faces are covered with masks made from animals skins, cloth, or more modernly – store bought masks. Through the town they chase the children, moving quickly and quietly on snow covered streets in their seal skin boots. Shrieks of terror, singing and laughter echo through the cold of the night as children, once caught by the Nalujuk, must sing a song to be freed and are often given candy to quash the trauma .
Well that sounds like fun and not terrifying at all.
Singing is an integral part of our Christmas traditions. We have carollers and choirs belting out the same joyful tunes we know and love. Songs of peace, joy, and happiness. It is said music will calm even the savage beast but will it be enough to make a zombie horse leave your house? Next time we pop on over to Wales and see what the Welsh are up to – and *spoiler* it’s weird.