In Norway, Bad Things Happen to You If You Don't Get Clothes for Christmas
Also, where are you going to find a ram's horn at this time of year?
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
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
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
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