They Have Been Around for Centuries-Yep That’s the Elves

It is that time of year again when the weather will turn to snow and soon will be the time for the Jolly old Elf to come out and spread Christmas Cheer. At the moment we are going to discuss those little men and women that help him make the toys for good girls and boys. They have been around for centuries.  Yep that’s the “Elves”.christmas elves

Santa’s Elves

Santa’s elves appear in literature as early as 1850 by Louisa May Alcott in a book that was written but never published called Christmas Elves. Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem a Visit from St. Nicholas (more commonly known as Twas the Night Before Christmas) in 1823 describing Santa Clause as an Elf. This is the only known reference that I can think of when Santa was an elf.


Elf History

Elves are a type of humanoid supernatural being in Germanic mythology and folklore. In the medieval Germanic speaking cultures elves seem to have been thought of as beings with magical powers and supernatural beauty. They will either help people or hinder people. These beliefs and their details have varied throughout time and have increased in both Pre-Christian and Christian cultures. Almost all surviving textual sources about elves were produced by Christians which includes  Anglo Saxon Monks, Icelandic poets, nineteenth century folklore,collectors, or fantasy authors from twentieth century. In some places the Christians  label them as pagan and it is said the elves were demonic and superstition.

Elves were known to be the cause of illnesses and disease caused by elf arrows. Flint arrowheads used in hunting and war by the pre Indo Europeans of the British Isles and of Europe generally and are still used among  Native American people. They were believed to fall from the sky and were used by elves to kill cattle and inflict elf shot on human beings. Sometimes they were worn as amulets occasionally set in silver as a charm to ward against witchcraft.


Iceland Elves

In Iceland however, over half of the population 54% believe they are real and live in a parallel environment to the visible human community. They believe that they are human looking and that they do the same things as us like go to church, have families, and even have livestock.  

One of the legends of folktales told in Iceland  says that one day God visited Adam and Eve they greeted him and showed him around the house God seen their children as well and was pleased with what he saw and thought highly of them. He asked Eve if she had any other children and she replied no.

The truth was that Eve had not finished bathing some of the children and was ashamed for God to see them so she hid them away. God of course knows everything so he said that which has been hidden from me will also be hidden from men.

These children now became invisible to mankind and lived in rocks and hills, stones and hummocks. From these hidden children the hidden people descended. The rest of mankind came from the children Eve showed to God. Men can never see the elves unless the elves want them to see them. However, elves can see men.

This is one of the stories told at Elf School. This school has been around for at least 30 years and gives many stories of encounters others have had with elves. People who enjoyed a meal and visited the homes of some of the Huldufolk or hidden people (elves).

Construction in Iceland sometimes has to halt such as the case when in the 1930’s the government was going to make a road that was going to go through a rock so it was easier connect two cities Reykjavik and Kopavogur. The Elves were not on board with the government and decided to raise havoc with them machines quit working, workers got sick, the funds were no longer available and so on it went on for 40 years and finally they made a way around the rock not through it. It took three tries to come to this agreement.  

Another is a rock known as Ofeigskirkja that is a rock that is a church for the elves that was moved by bulldozers after the elves picked the place it was to be moved to. This project was another road that was to be built however the rock was in the way and had to be moved this rock weighed 70 tons and took the elves one and a half years to decide where they wanted the rock to be placed.

Holiday’s Associated with Elves

There are four holidays that are associated with the hidden people (elves) in Iceland. The first is New Years Eve, the belief is that the elves move to a new location and Icelanders leave lit candles to help them find their way.

Thirteenth Night January 6th Elf bonfires and dancing  are part of the festivities with it being the last day of Christmas they have dinner and light fireworks to celebrate.

Midsummer Night (Jonsmessa: named after John the Baptist) is celebrated on June 24 folklore states that if you sit at a crossroads where all four roads leads to separate churches, elves will seduce you with food and gifts and if you are seduced there are grave consequences and if you resist you will be rewarded greatly.

Christmas December 23  lasts for 13 days in Iceland. It is custom to clean your house before Christmas and leave food for the elves to enjoy on this wonderful Holiday..

So this goes to say that in Iceland respect is what the elves demand and get. No matter where you go there seems to be these little people all over the world

my first elf encounterMy Elf Encounter

My first encounter with elves besides Santa at the mall was in Denver, Colorado at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science we took a field trip from school and the murals at the museum were pretty cool to look at the little elf faces was kind of shocking because that was the last thing you would think you might find in a museum. I remember thinking what are those and where do they live? I also had hoped to see one some day. The mural was painted by Kent Pendleton in the 1970’s. There are eight elves in all.  Now I enjoy seeing elves wherever I can.

There are so many places you can find elves these days. Most places have to do with gardens or around Christmas. However I am waiting to see one for real. Maybe I will take a trip to Iceland one day.  I also include them in my fairy garden and enjoy seeing what other people share about their experiences with them.

I hope this article has been enjoyable to read. I also hope I have provided some insight into the world of Elves.

==>Go here to get your elves for your fairy garden<==

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