This very specific number has to do with the number of Icelandic Jólasveinar (Santa Clauses, if you aren’t keeping up).. Every night until Christmas, a new Yule Lad will visit the window and place a small gift in the shoe. Lurking wherever he had access to a kitchen (behind doors, under tables, in cupboards, outside open windows), he would lay in wait for the meat of any dish to be slapped onto the counter. But there you have it. To get as much of this tallow as possible, he made sure he took it from the easiest targets in a household, the children, by following them to their bedrooms or reading nooks and robbing straight from their hands. Similar to Window-Peeper and Door-Slammer, the idea of him creeping into a home to cause mayhem haunted the nightmares of Iceland’s children. Scopri le migliori foto stock e immagini editoriali di attualità di Christmas In Iceland su Getty Images. The Yule Lads of Iceland. Discover a wide range of Mountain Tours Why not join this Mo... What is considered to be the most disgusting Icelandic dish? The Yuletide-lads are said to "come to town" during the last 13 nights before Christmas. The first jólasveinn arrives 13 days before Christmas and then the others follow, one each day. Icelanders would usually keep their sheep underground in the winter months, so when the sounds of their tormented bleating would echo up into the house, it was a sign Stekkjastaur had found them. Stúfur’s name came from the fact he was considerably shorter than his brothers. Rather than imagining a jolly bearded man in red and white, the Santas of Iceland are thirteen filthy trolls led by their mother, a child-eating giantess named Grýla. This healthy, tasty, traditional dairy product can fairly be described as one of Iceland’s true delicacies, especially when compared to dishes such as ‘hákarl’, (fermented shark) and ‘Brennivín’ (a spirit appropriately nicknamed ‘black death’). All, however, could take solace in the fact that he was the last, and in thirteen days, he (along with his brothers, mother, and her cat) would be back in the caves in north Iceland, laying dormant until the next Yuletide. The following day, the hunter and his bear recounted the story of the trolls, before resuming their journey to Copenhagen to visit the King of Denmark. The reason for his sniffing was also nefarious; he was forever seeking out his favourite meal, the Icelandic delicacy of laufabrauð (‘leaf-bread’). Are there waterfalls all around the country? Each night, Askasleikir will quite literally lay beneath a child’s bed, waiting for them to finish their nighttime soup or pudding. Sign up for our monthly newsletter on all things Icelandic. What is Guide to Iceland? When was Guide to Iceland founded and why? She can only capture children who misbehave but those who repent must be released. Icelandic Christmas food does not have such a particular taste and you can enjoy some delicious smoked lamb meat or pork roast in most restaurants open for the holidays. From the night of the 20th, however, constant vigilance used to be required when preparing the bjúgu; it was the only piece of food that the ninth Yule Lad, Bjúgnakrækir, or ‘Sausage-Snatcher’, wanted to get his grubby hands on. Such a sound, though common in the winter months with storms regularly harassing the flock, became even more ominous, particularly considering that sheep were the lifeblood of every farmstead. Today, we don't know them as some monsters from the mountains anymore, but as friendly lads that bring small gifts to good children. It is also easy to reach on many winter self-drive tours and vacation packages. Or sit in Grýla's big iron pot at the Troll Garden at Fossatún in Borgarfjörður, where you can do the "troll hike"! Their parents were the horrible ogre Grýla who ate naughty children and her bedridden lazy no-good husband Leppaludi. Icelandic Christmas Trolls are the stuff of nightmares and daydreams. The horrible Icelandic Yule lads were a gruesome bunch of trolls that terrorized children and stole food from hungry peasants around Christmas. The 23rd of December, when he was said to set out, is Saint Thorlak’s day (Þorláksmessa), on which it is tradition to have fermented skate fish for dinner. Outsiders to Iceland, however, may have found a visit from Ketkrókur a blessing. Sundagarðar 2  •  104 Reykjavík, Iceland, intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, Other Christmas stories are rather bleak in nature. We will skip the last – and least important - category. This was exacerbated by the fact that Gáttaþefur was renowned for his enormous nose, massive even for his kind. The fact she was a child-eater who sought out children over the festive season sends a similar message to kids as Santa bearing coal, if with a little less finesse: behave if you want a nice Christmas. This big black Christmas cat (Jólakötturinn) is the pet of evil Grýla and will eat anyone not wearing a new piece of clothing on Christmas Eve. The Christmas Cat, however, does not just seek out those who have misbehaved; it happily preys on any child that did not get new clothes to wear for Christmas. It is notable for being round, very thin, fried, and decorated with intricate patterns, usually leaves. Those renowned for detailed designs had particular umbrage with Gáttaþefur, as he would often steal their laufabrauð before they could impress a single guest with it. Vikings and trolls. No one is watching to see that all good children get presents. The Icelandic Christmas season lasts 26 days. Celebrating Christmas with 13 trolls In Iceland, Santa's job is held by 13 brothers, descended from trolls, who come down from the mountains bearing gifts for the children. Although only wealthier Icelanders owned cows, most poorer people historically lived on the farmsteads of the rich, meaning all were affected by this troll’s antics. The horrible Icelandic Yule lads were a gruesome bunch of trolls that terrorized children and stole food from hungry peasants around Christmas. But there's something about the thought of beating the arctic temperatures outside by settling in with a big blanket, hot chocolate, your favorite album, and a good book. Trolls, ogres, and giant cats: How Iceland celebrates Christmas Iceland's Christmas traditions derive from Norse paganism and a time when people, without electricity, were … She shares her mountain cave in north Iceland with an enormous black feline called the Christmas Cat, which also has an appetite for human flesh. On another note, seals also become human this night. In fact they are thirteen brothers who are descended from trolls. Each of the Yule Lads is known for a different kind of mischief (for example slamming doors, stealing meat, stealing milk or eating the candles). In Iceland, naughty children don't just get lumps of coal during the Christmas season. Today, statues of Grýla can be found around the country, such as in the Akureyri Christmas house and by Fossatún, due to her integral role in Icelandic Christmas traditions. Unlike other parts of the world where Father Christmas or Saint Nick is the only yuletide icon, Icelandic culture depicts not one but 13 Christmas trolls! In Iceland, naughty children don't just get lumps of coal during the Christmas season. Children were no longer threatened with being devoured, and were instead given rotten potatoes in their shoes if they misbehaved. This, however, says nothing about the fear he inspired; being short for a half-giant still made him a formidable character. Their arrival brings with it the start of the Christmas season in Iceland. The tenth Yule Lad to descend from over the festive season was perhaps the creepiest of all; Gluggagægir, or ‘Window-Peeper’. The eve before December 12, everyone who believes in the Yule Lads will put a shoe on the window sill and keep it there for 13 days. Iceland's 13 Trolls of Christmas In Iceland, there is no Santa Claus. Iceland isn't the only country known for a seasonal surge in new book releases; France has a similar trend called Le rentrée littéraire. Bjúgnakrækir had perfected way of stealing this Icelandic delicacy. Scegli tra immagini premium su Christmas In Iceland della migliore qualità. Christmas folklore in Iceland, like its food, language and landscapes, is a bit more extreme than in neighbouring Nordic countries.While Scandinavia has its fill of unique Yuletide traditions (for example, the "Sauna Elf" in Finland) Iceland takes the prize for having the most hair-raising Christmas creatures.. Perhaps not around most of the world, but Iceland is not like most of the world. There is no end to the trouble and mischief as the little trolls travel through Scandinavia searching for him. How do Icelanders treat the LGBTQ community? The reputed home of Grýla, the Christmas Cat and the Yule Lads is the lava-labyrinth of Dimmuborgir in North Iceland. Not that we know exactly how you prepare for a troll attack. Christmas is coming! Some Christmas traditions in Iceland seem like they’re straight out of a horror movie. The coming of the Yule Lads marks the start of the Christmas season in Iceland. What role does the giantess Grýla play in Icelandic Christmas folklore, and what was the Christmas Cat? Read more here. Like his twelve brothers, his name is self-explanatory, although the consequences of his hi-jinks were more troublesome them they may appear. Þvörusleikir’s behaviour was a result of his unique deformity; he was grotesquely gaunt from malnutrition, unusual amongst trolls who were most often depicted as overweight and muscular beasts. A Toothy Troll from Iceland TrollHoleMuseum. See more ideas about yule, elves, iceland. … Until the end of the month, he would sneak from home to home, reaching the furthest ends of the Westfjords to the bustling centre of Reykjavík, to break in and bang as many doors as he could in order to wake those sleeping inside. This is none other than Jólakötturinn – the Christmas Cat – of Iceland.According to legends, the Christmas or Yule Cat is a monstrously huge black cat that only appears at Christmas Eve, when little children are sound asleep, dreaming of the glitter of the Christmas Tree and what marvellous gifts lie under it. This obnoxious feline is know as the Christmas Cat. Sometimes, they get eaten. Unlike other parts of the world where Father Christmas or Saint Nick is the only yuletide icon, Icelandic culture depicts not one but 13 Christmas trolls! And even though America loves Saint Nick, a TV show recently brought the amoral antics of the Christmas witch to life. The earliest written records of the Christmas cat date back to the 19th century, but he seems to be closely related to Scandinavian beliefs in the Christmas goat. Candles were also the only available tool for Icelanders to enjoy their historically favourite pastime of reading, and over Christmas in Iceland, everyone getting together to read is an age-old tradition. A few of these unlucky trolls can be seen all over the country, the most famous of which are the Reynisdrangar rock formations on the south shore. Giljagaur, or ‘Gully Gawk’, was the second Icelandic Christmas troll. Human-eating trolls feature heavily in many Icelandic myths, and during jól (Christmas season in Iceland), a Christmas troll named Grýla comes down from her mountain cave to gather all of the naughty children. Considering the darkness of Iceland’s winters, where there are only four hours of sunlight a day, it takes little imagination to picture the fear children must have felt passing the windows of their homes on Christmas nights, terrified that this fearsome troll was looking in upon them. It’s December 12th and the children of Iceland are about to be visited by the Yule Lads. No one is watching to see that all good children get presents. Gáttaþefur, or ‘Doorway Sniffer’, may have come into folklore due to the whistling breaths of the wind creeping through Iceland’s draughty turf houses. Follow us on the following social networks and websites. Christmas traditions in Iceland are an inseparable part of Icelandic history. In Icelandic folklore, however, this was the target of thievery from the twelfth and penultimate Yule Lad, Ketkrókur, or ‘Meat Hook’. Breaking into one home after another, he seeks out pots of sauce, chunks of roast meat left on the tray, saucepans of seasonal vegetables, and scours off anything leftover to eat. In the old days life in Iceland was harsh and their stories reflected that hardship. One can indulge in perfectly cooked poultry, nut-roasts, mince pies, gingerbread men, cinnamon rolls and all manner of other treats. In fact they are thirteen brothers who are descended from trolls. Iceland’s Yule Lads are another prominent crew of trolls that turn up every year. No Santa: 13 trolls, a child-eating ogress and a monster cat Find out all about the Icelandic Yule Lads - or Icelandic Christmas Trolls - and their evil mother Gryla. The traditions surrounding Grýla say a lot about Icelandic folklore. Hiding in the gullies around a house, waiting until its residents have fallen asleep, his method of troublemaking was to break into the cowshed to steal any milk available. Pot Licker, the fifth one, was a funny sort of chap. The final Yule Lad is Kertasníkir, whose name translates to ‘Candle-Stealer’ or 'Candle-Beggar'; he emerges on Christmas Eve in Iceland. Invite the Icelandic Yule Lads into your home this Christmas! Pottaskefill, known in English as ‘Pot-Scraper’, is like many of his brothers in that his Christmas hi-jinks are gluttonous. How long is the period in which you can experience the midnight sun in Iceland? And none of these Icelandic Christmas creatures behaves in the way we are used to. Then again, most of the world does not have Grýla or the Yule Lads, often referred to as the Christmas Trolls. They were enormous, filthy, unintelligent creatures, humanoid and bestial in equal measure, who could only operate in the hours of the night, should the sun cast them into stone. The country had no mining industry of its own, and such goods had to be imported and were very expensive. The Yuletide-lads are said to "come to town" during the last 13 nights before Christmas. Who are the Icelandic Christmas Trolls? The Yule Lads may have been sanitised, but one part of the original Christmas tradition in Iceland that cannot be is Grýla, their mother. This delicious treat only comes out over Christmas time, and making it is often a cherished family affair, especially in the North. The children are called the Yule Lads, and they’ve come to resemble an Icelandic version of Santa Claus. Christmas culinary traditions vary significantly between families, but there is one common central feature to most festive feasts, and that’s the meat. Celebrating Christmas with 13 trolls In Iceland, Santa's job is held by 13 brothers, descended from trolls, who come down from the mountains bearing gifts for the children. Perhaps out of fear of what happened to Grýla’s previous partners, he exerts no influence over her evil tendencies. His stiff legs impaired his ability to move, so the best thing to do, when hearing him rile up your animals, was to wait it out; he’d have to move on to your neighbour soon enough, in order to terrorise as many Icelandic homes as possible by sunrise. While this may not seem like a terrible crime, historically, pots and pans were incredibly valuable in Iceland. On this note, the story that the Christmas Cat ate children who did not get clothes as a gift was likely created to ensure that everyone finished their weaving, knitting and sewing by the dead of winter. Crazy characters from traditional Icelandic Christmas folklore, these mischievous trolls are said to visit children in the 13 nights leading up to Christmas, leaving candy for the good boys and girls and rotting potatoes for the bad ones! In Icelandic folklore, Gryla is known to eat children! This season in Iceland, however, one dish deserves an extra special mention: the delicious and creamy Skyr. Today, their image has largely been sanitised; rather than being depicted as trolls defined by extreme deformities, they now tend to wear the traditional red and white clothes, fluffy beards and wide smiles. He has a reputation for slurping the remains of whatever is left in bowls—or of an ‘askur’, an Icelandic type of bowl with a lid, to be specific—but the way he does so is rather nightmarish. Grýla was such a terrifying image to children than in the 18th Century, the parliament outlawed the use of her legend as a scare tactic. Where to Find The Yule Lads and Christmas Trolls If you fancy visiting the Yule Lads, their parents, and the Christmas cat in Iceland you can head to the north of the country to Dimmuborgir. Celebrating Christmas with 13 trolls. Trolls, ogres, and giant cats: How Iceland celebrates Christmas Iceland's Christmas traditions derive from Norse paganism and a time when people, without electricity, were … Jól (Yule) is the title often given to an Icelandic Christmas. Icelandic Christmas folklore depicts mountain-dwelling characters and monsters who come to town during Christmas. Askasleikir’s name in English is ‘Bowl-Licker’. Þvörusleikir, the fourth Yule Lad, is known in English as ‘Spoon-Licker’. His intent was not even to use the candles to enjoy novels and poetry; instead, he sought only to munch on the tallow that the candles were made from. Scopri le migliori foto stock e immagini editoriali di attualità di Iceland Christmas su Getty Images. From shop TrollHoleMuseum. How can you persuade your taste buds that liquorice... What's the gay scene like in Iceland? And a quick warning: There are trolls around, so don’t just wander into the night unprepared. How magical Christmas in Iceland would be! As foodstuffs were meant to be preserved to last throughout the long winter months, any waste was greatly frowned upon. As many countries do, Iceland celebrates Chrismas mostly with good food and gifts to loved ones, but unlike most countries that have a single Father Christmas / Santa Claus character, Icelandic children are fortunate enough to be visited by 13 Yule Lads. In his place Iceland has a small army of Yule lads, trolls and Christmas monsters who ensure that everyone gets into the spirit of the Holidays. According to Icelandic folklore trolls lived in the mountains and only came down from them to forage for food. Other Christmas stories are rather bleak in nature, perhaps reflecting the harshness of winter and the isolation of the community in previous centuries. Grýla also lives with her latest husband, a troll named Leppalúði. Meet Grýla, the Christmas Troll Who Eats Iceland's Naughtiest Children. Which mountains are the most beautiful mountains in Iceland, where are they located and what kind of mountains can you find in Iceland? Full of elves, trolls, and “hidden people,” the folk tales of Iceland are made all the more fascinating because a majority of the population of 300,000 actually believes in them.. Go on just about any tour in Iceland, and you'll likely hear at least one story that involves elves or trolls. Trolls can only survive in the darkness of night (guess they just stayed home for the endless daylight in summer then) and if they were caught in the sunlight they would immediately turn to stone. Scegli tra immagini premium su Iceland Christmas della migliore qualità. Iceland road builders take elves very seriously and since they live in rock outcroppings, consult with an elf expert before routing a new road or highway through rock piles that may be elf habitats. Like several of the other characters mentioned above, it seems like Gluggagægir’s chilling behaviour was designed as a way to scare children from going outside in the dark winters. The more brutal delivery of this message is likely due to the fact that winters in Iceland were incredibly dangerous, and many disobedient children who went out in the dark and snow never returned home. Evil, mean trolls who like to steal and play tricks on people. From shop CreaSas. Each Yuletide lad has a specific idiosyncrasy and will therefore behave in a particular manner. Each has different antics, ranging from grotesque to horrifying, which they indulge in across the country until the end of the Christmas Season. Others believe they simply live in an un-identified mountainous area. They … We won’t elaborate but yeah, Iceland wet nuts fusing together Christmas and paganism. Pottaskefill, known in English as ‘Pot-Scraper’, is like many of his brothers … In terms of destructive powers, one cat perhaps tops all his feline kin. Icelandic Christmas celebrations traditionally begin on December 23rd and involve a mix of religious practices and intriguing Icelandic mythology. Iceland’s Yule Lads are another prominent crew of trolls that turn up every year. They have a little story… involving trolls, of course, as so many Icelandic stories do. 5 out of 5 stars (6) 6 reviews $ 3.99. The 13 Horrifying Christmas Trolls Of Iceland. Tendrils of smoke from the fireplace wrap around the fingers of the parents as they move their hands and spin yarns of giants, ogres, trolls, monsters, elves, and 13 Santa Clauses. 5 out of 5 stars (52) 52 reviews $ 19 .75 ... From shop SagaIceland. How long does a sunset or a sunrise last? In the past, candles were incredibly valuable in Iceland, providing light throughout the winter darkness; as noted, this lasts about twenty hours a day over Christmas. Posts about Iceland Christmas Trolls written by lindsaybkhan. Is Iceland a good travel destination for queer people? Because we love this quirky side of Iceland, we’re sharing a few of the amusing tales of Iceland elves and trolls we’ve been told. When … In October 2011, Ryan and I took a trip to Iceland. Their parents were the horrible ogre Grýla who ate naughty children and her bedridden lazy no-good husband Leppaludi. Huldufólk are elves or hidden people in Icelandic folklore and Icelanders believe they are everywhere. The Icelandic Yule Lads and Gryla | Iceland's Christmas Trolls, Guide to Iceland | The Story of the Leading Travel Agency of Iceland, Midnight Sun in Iceland + How COVID-19 May Influence Your Chance to Experience It, Top 10 Beautiful Waterfalls in Iceland + How COVID-19 Might Impact Your Trip, The Ultimate Guide to Gay Iceland | LGBT+ History, Rights and Culture, Gryla | Mother of the Icelandic Yule Lads. Nowadays during Christmas in Iceland, their function is to come to town bearing gifts and candy (and a prank or two). Iceland’s fantasy creatures fall into four categories: (1) Trolls, (2) Hidden people, (3) Elves, (4) Other mythological creatures such as monsters, serpents, wurms, chimeras, nuggles, and more. The first of the Yule Lads to leave the mountains to stir up trouble across Iceland was Stekkjastaur, or ‘Sheep-Cote Clod’. The meals leading up to Christmas are, without a doubt, some of the best of the year. Meet the Yule lads. Continue reading to learn all about health in Iceland. Gully-Gawk is out stealing milk; Stubby is munching on the crust of pans; Pot-Scraper is scoffing down leftovers; and Spoon-Licker is doing exactly what his name suggests. We had always wanted to go there, and after speaking with representatives from Icelandair at a local travel show, our desire to travel to Iceland intensified. The stories are directed at children and are used to scare them into good behaviour. Would you rather meet regular old Santa? How do you sleep during the... Iceland is a country of many amazing waterfalls, but which are the best ones? Kertasníkir was, without a doubt, one of the most intrusive Yule Lads, and one of the upsetting to kids. Merriment aside, institutions such as the National Museum view Grýla as an essential part of Iceland’s cultural history, one that can be easily forgotten about with all those baubles and “yo ho ho”s. Can you... See a selection of wonderful photographs that capture the magic of the Northern Lights throughout Iceland. From the 18th until the 30th, this national delight - a compliment to both sweet and savoury dishes - was under careful watch should it fall into the hands of this nefarious troll. Jul 27, 2016 - Explore Tiny Iceland's board "Elves, Trolls & Yule Lads", followed by 2222 people on Pinterest. Every Christmas, Grýla and her sons come down from the mountains: Grýla in search of naughty children to boil in her cauldron and the boys in search of mischief. From a relatively young age Icelandic children are told the story of Grýla, the ogress living in the Icelandic mountains. People often even build álfhól (tiny wooden elf houses) in their gardens for elves to live in. Her home is believed by many to be in Dimmuborgir, which is visited on many tours from Akureyri, the capital of north Iceland, and it is a stop on the popular Diamond Circle sightseeing route. Icelandic children place a shoe in their bedroom window each evening in the 13 days before Christmas. The Icelandic Christmas period is an intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, beginning on 23 Decemberand ending on Epiphany, 6 January. The relationship between Grýla and Leppalúði is also a classic trope in Icelandic folklore. Her appetite for the flesh of naughty youths is insatiable, and each year, she finds no shortage of her favourite crop. Perhaps created to get children to go to sleep when asked, or not to indulge in a midnight snack, he epitomises the trope of the monster under the bed. Collecting them up in a sack, she then cooks them in a pot and turns them into a giant stew that will sustain her until the next winter. It also did not change the violent, selfish nature for which he and his family were known. Perhaps terror is a slight exaggeration, but the concept of Santa in Iceland, in terms of Icelandic folklore, is very different to the one we know and love in most western cultures. This custom makes Kertasníkir’s antics all the more troublesome. Icelandic Christmas trolls - AKA The Yule Lads. There’s a troll mum and dad, Grýla and Leppalúði, who live in the mountains. The least threatening member of her family, he is brow-beaten to the point of pathetic. She is a dreadful character, described as part troll and part animal and the mother of 13 precocious boys (the Yule Lads). Putrified and smelling intensely ammoniacal, having it stolen before it could be served could be quite the Christmas miracle. Iceland's 13 Trolls of Christmas In Iceland, there is no Santa Claus. They are mischievous pranksters or at least they were in the past. They have a little story… involving trolls, of course, as so many Icelandic stories do. He expected the trolls to visit as usual, and was preparing everything for their comfort. How healthy is the Icelandic diet? From the 14th to the 26th of December, his appetite was insatiable. And a quick warning: There are trolls around, so don’t just wander into the night unprepared. The origins of the Christmas cat are more mysterious than those of Grýla or the Yule lads, all of whom are clearly traditional trolls or mythical spirits living in mountains and uninhabited areas. An enormous black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this simple rule. Rather than pulling pranks, they simply leave presents in the shoe that children place on their windowsills, a bit like the stockings on fireplaces in other cultures. 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