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12 Dec

13 days of Icelandic Christmas traditions: Day one

13 days of Icelandic Christmas traditions: Day one

Each of the thirteen nights before Christmas, one Yule Lad comes down from their mountain cave to bring small gifts to children who have placed a shoe on their windowsill.

The Icelandic Yule lads and their family.

 

Many mysterious figures from the same Yule-troll family appear during the Icelandic holiday season.  The 13 Yule Lads  are sometimes called the Icelandic Santas, but they are certainly not saints! They are pranksters with cravings reflected in their names. For example, there is Spoon Licker, Door Slammer, Skyr Gobbler, and Sausage Stealer. Each of the thirteen nights before Christmas, one Yule Lad comes down from their mountain cave to bring small gifts to children who have placed a shoe on their windowsill. It might be a small toy, candy, or a healthier snack like a mandarin orange. Children with room for improvement can expect a rotten potato! 

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The Icelandic Yule Lads

See ourlist of names and descriptions.

Coming to a windowsill near you | Is your shoe out already?

12 - 24 Dec 2022

Stekkjarstaur (Sheep-Cote Clod)

He harasses sheep but is impaired by his stiff peg legs. He arrives to town on December 12 and departs on December 25.

Giljagaur  (Gully Gawk )

He hides in gullies, waiting for an opportunity to sneak into the cowshed and steal milk. He arrives to town on December 13 and departs on December 26.

Stúfur (Stubby)

He is Abnormally short, steals pans to eat the crust left on them. He arrives to town on December 14 and departs on December 27.

Þvörusleikir (Spoon-Licker)

He steals and licks wooden spoons and is skinny due to malnutrition. He arrives to town on December 15 and departs on December 28.

Pottaskefill (Pot-Scraper )

He is known for stealing leftovers from pots left out. He arrives to town on December 16 and departs on December 29.

Askasleikir (Bowl-Licker)

He hides under beds, waiting for someone to put down their askur (a bowl with a lid used instead of dishes), which he then steals. He arrives to town on December 17 and departs on December 30.

Hurðaskellir (Door-Slammer)

He likes to slam doors, especially during the night, waking people up. He arrives to town on December 18 and departs on December 31.

Skyrgámur (Skyr-Gobbler)

He has a tremendous affinity for skyr (The Icelandic yogurt). He arrives to town on December 19 and departs on January 1.

Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage-Swiper)

He hides in the rafters and snatches sausages that are being smoked. He arrives to town on December 20 and departs on January 2.

Gluggagægir (Window-Peeper)

He is sneaky and looks through windows in search of things to steal! He arrives to town on December 21 and departs on January 3.

Gáttaþefur (Doorway-Sniffer)

He has an abnormally large nose and an acute sense of smell that he uses to locate leaf bread (laufabrauð). He arrives to town on December 22 and departs on January 4.

Ketkrókur (Meat-Hook)

He uses his hook to steal meat. He arrives to town on December 23 and departs on January 5.

Kertasníkir (Candle-Stealer)

Follows children around to steal their candles (which were once made of tallow and thus edible). He arrives to town on December 24 and departs on January 6.

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