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Yule Lads

Christmas

Yule Lads

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The Yule Lads, or Yulemen, (Icelandic: jólasveinarnir) are the Icelandic santa clauses. Their number has varied throughout the ages, but currently they are considered to be thirteen.

Their names, and the dates on which they appear are:

  • Stekkjastaur (Sheepfold Stick) – December 12
  • Giljagaur (Gilly Oaf) – December 13
  • Stúfur (Shorty) – December 14
  • Ţvörusleikir (Spoon-licker) – December 15
  • Pottasleikir (Pot-licker) – December 16
  • Askasleikir (Bowl-licker) – December 17
  • Hurđaskellir (Door-slammer) – December 18
  • Skyrgámur (Skyr-glutton) – December 19
  • Bjúgnakrćkir (Sausage-pilfer) – December 20
  • Gluggagćgir (Peeper) – December 21
  • Gáttaţefur (Sniffer) – December 22
  • Ketkrókur (Meat-hook) – December 23
  • Kertasníkir (Candle-beggar) – December 24

The Yule Lads were originally considered to be very bad news - they were pranksters that tortured the farmers, as can be seen from their names.

The Yule Lads are said to be the sons of Grýla and Leppalúđi, vicious trolls that live in the mountains. Grýla is ancient - her name is even mentioned in Snorri Sturluson's thirteenth century Edda. Grýla is said to wander down from the mountains in search of children that she puts in her sack. Grýla is definitely the dominant member in the relationship and generally considered more terrifying - even sometimes said to have hooves and a tail. Another prominent member of the family is the Yuletide Cat, a beast much feared by children. It was said that the cat would eat any child that didn't get a new article of clothing in time for Christmas. This believe lingers in the Icelandic language in the form a saying: "You don't want to go to the Yuletide Cat."

In modern times the Yule Lads have taken on a more benevolent role as they slowly merge with Santa Claus. They have taken up his costume, and nowadays little children in Iceland place their shoes in the window for thirteen days prior to Christmas, and each night a little gift is left in the shoe from the Yule Lad that came down from the mountains that night.

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Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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