All your Christmas presents have been opened, and you haven’t even gotten that perennial staple of seasonal gifts, new socks – let alone any other new clothes. That may be just as you like it. Perhaps you’ve made it abundantly clear to your nearest and dearest that gift certificates are the best way to avoid disappointment.
But according to Norwegian folklore, a lack of sartorial renovation at yuletide sets you up for all kinds of mayhem and mischief. The effects of a no-new-clothes Christmas vary greatly, depending on the region where such an eventuality occurs. None of them, however, are very positive. As this map shows.
Some punishments are fairly mild. On part of the island of Smøla and in a few communities scattered along the Norwegian coast, you must kiss the church’s bell-ringer (light brown). In a few other coastal areas, an area in south central Norway and another on the Swedish border (light blue), you have to sit on the doorstep. And in an area around Oppheim and another one further inland (light green), you’ll have to spend some time alone in the barn.
In two large areas in southeastern and mid Norway, you must sit (or ride) on a tree stump, while in a small area in surrounded by stump-sitting territory, but also a larger area in the south, near Stavanger (purple), you have to pull around that stump (or a sack) around. In a small area on the southern coast, appears to be Spangereid and environs (pink), you get called a ‘Christmas hobo’. And in a few small areas scattered across Norway (black), other revellers will avoid you. Like the Christmas hobo you are.
Worse things happen in Vest-Agder county (brown), where you turn into a Christmas troll, and in and around Bergen, where your transmogrify into a byting (a changeling, or a fool). In the northern part of Hedmark county, you won’t get any older – which could be a good thing (if you remain young forever) or a bad thing (if you die).
Some season-appropriate consequences involve what appears to be Norway’s favourite Christmas animals – not reindeer, but goats and rams.
In two separate areas in southern Norway (in yellow), you have to ride the Christmas goat. In areas around Eidsfjord and Geirangerfjord and in south central Norway (orange), you will be taken by the Christmas goat. And just north of the northernmost yellow area, in an area that seems to span both Oppland and Buskerud counties (purple), you will be – pardon my Norwegian – shat on by the Christmas goat.
In the southern part of the Salten district, south of the Saltenfjord (olive green), you’ll only have to suffer being called a ‘dirty ram’ during Christmas. Around the Boknafjorden in southern Norway, including Stavanger (red), you’ll have to carry a ram’s horn. As you will in a few isolated islands off the central coast (burgundy), only ‘up your arse’.
Here’s hoping you at least got a scarf, or some gloves.
Strange Maps #877
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