Icelandic Christmas celebrations traditionally begin on December 23rd and involve a mix of religious practices and intriguing Icelandic mythology. 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! Pottaskefill | Pot-Scraper. How healthy is the Icelandic diet? These thirteen brothers, who are direct descendants of trolls, live in dark deep caves in the mountains along with their ogre parents—their mother Grýla and their father Leppalúði—and the child-devouring Yule Cat. The contrast is very similar to the sometimes harsh but beautiful landscape 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. 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. People often even build álfhól (tiny wooden elf houses) in their gardens for elves to live in. Legend has it that two trolls were trying to drag a thr… But there you have it. It was also the favourite meal of the eighth Icelandic Yule Lad, Skyrgámur, or ‘Skyr-Gobbler’. When does the midnight sun take place in Iceland? Grýla would be terrible enough if she worked alone; sadly for Icelandic children, she does not. 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 … Bowl Licker: He steals bowls of food from under the bed (back in the old days, Icelanders used to … 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. She can only capture children who misbehave but those who repent must be released. From a relatively young age Icelandic children are told the story of Grýla, the ogress living in the Icelandic mountains. 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. Where can you purchase your own sheep’s head, or tuck into a little-fermented shark? Þvörusleikir, the fourth Yule Lad, is known in English as ‘Spoon-Licker’. Where do you need to travel to find the most spectacular waterfalls? 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. 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. In spite of being a fearsome troll, Stekkjastaur, like many of his brothers, was limited by a deformity. Book your complete trip with the best companies only. 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. How has Guide to Iceland changed since its conception? 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! Evil, mean trolls who like to steal and play tricks on people. The tenth Yule Lad to descend from over the festive season was perhaps the creepiest of all; Gluggagægir, or ‘Window-Peeper’. Others believe they simply live in an un-identified mountainous area. Favorite Add to Felt Norwegian troll, Christmas gnome, traditional Christmas colors, felt home decor, CreaSas. 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. How magical Christmas in Iceland would be! 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 … Iceland has a really interesting one, and in the run up I was so intrigued to see how this northern country – with Reykjavik being the most northern capital in the world – would “do” Christmas. Smithsonian describes this ancient take on the festival as “a time not only to bring together relatives, living and deceased, but also elves, trolls and other magical and spooky creatures believed to inhabit the landscape.” Grýla definitely fits into that category. Icelandic Christmas Trolls are the stuff of nightmares and daydreams. Some Christmas traditions in Iceland seem like they’re straight out of a horror movie. 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. Each night, Askasleikir will quite literally lay beneath a child’s bed, waiting for them to finish their nighttime soup or pudding. What role does the giantess Grýla play in Icelandic Christmas folklore, and what was the Christmas Cat? While a delight the whole year round, Skyr is a particular treat over Christmas, serving as a refreshment from the number of huge roast meals that usually accompany the holidays. Find out all about the Icelandic Yule Lads - or Icelandic Christmas Trolls - and their evil mother Gryla. From the 12th of December to the 24th, however, they depart one by one to engage in thirteen days of mischief. 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. Their arrival brings with it the start of the Christmas season in Iceland. There are some very mean trolls indeed and the best-known one in the history of Iceland is certainly Gryla. From the 12th of December until the 26th, his modus operandi was to harass the sheep of any household he came across. 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. Christmas is coming! Children were no longer threatened with being devoured, and were instead given rotten potatoes in their shoes if they misbehaved. 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. On another note, seals also become human this night. In modern culture, when the season arrives, the Thirteen Yule Lads descend from the mountains to attend celebrations around the country, playing with children and entertaining revelers; they help make Iceland at Christmas even more of a delight. Meet the Yule lads. 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. 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 … Old Icelandic folklore states that every Icelander must receive a new piece of clothing for Christmas or they will find themselves in mortal danger. In fact they are thirteen brothers who are descended from trolls. Though each Yule Lad had their own quirks, all shared the features of trolls. No Santa: 13 trolls, a child-eating ogress and a monster cat This Christmas troll set out on his nationwide tour of mischief the fifteenth of December each year, to break into the homes of Icelanders and slaver his tongue over their spoons in the hope of a morsel to eat. Perhaps not around most of the world, but Iceland is not like most of the world. Their parents were the horrible ogre Grýla who ate naughty children and her bedridden lazy no-good husband Leppaludi. 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. And even though America loves Saint Nick, a TV show recently brought the amoral antics of the Christmas witch to life. Follow us on the following social networks and websites. 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. The Yule Lads are as much a part of the country's festive tradition as the Icelandic Christmas Book Flood and eating smoked lamb. The Yule Lads may have been sanitised, but one part of the original Christmas tradition in Iceland that cannot be is Grýla, their mother. Each Yuletide lad has a specific idiosyncrasy and will therefore behave in a particular manner. Scopri le migliori foto stock e immagini editoriali di attualità di Iceland Christmas su Getty Images. Unlike his brother, Bjúgnakrækir, who only sought smoked sausages, Ketkrókur was indiscriminate in his tastes. The Yuletide-lads are said to "come to town" during the last 13 nights before Christmas. Scegli tra immagini premium su Christmas In Iceland della migliore qualità. 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. Iceland's 13 Trolls of Christmas In Iceland, there is no Santa Claus. 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. What is Guide to Iceland? In doing so, he robbed families of the key ingredient in the sauces meant to be enjoyed over the festive season, not to mention the traditional Skyr. 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. 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. Scegli tra immagini premium su Iceland Christmas della migliore qualità. They don't wear red, and they're not jolly: the 13 Santas who usher in Christmas in Iceland are descendants of trolls and ogres who revel in terrifying young children. Pottaskefill was no doubt created to encourage children to finish their meals; leftovers may bring him sniffing at the door. Like his twelve brothers, his name is self-explanatory, although the consequences of his hi-jinks were more troublesome them they may appear. 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. 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). Icelandic children place a shoe in their bedroom window each evening in the 13 days before Christmas. How do Icelanders treat the LGBTQ community? Would you rather meet regular old Santa? In Icelandic folklore, Gryla is known to eat children! From shop CreaSas. 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. 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. This obnoxious feline is know as the Christmas Cat. Can you... See a selection of wonderful photographs that capture the magic of the Northern Lights throughout Iceland. Even adults in Iceland before industrialisation largely believed in trolls, so many would have been cautious that there was truth to the tales of these Christmas cretins. Putrified and smelling intensely ammoniacal, having it stolen before it could be served could be quite the Christmas miracle. 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. Discover the 13 Santas of Iceland, their mother the Troll Grýla that eats naughty children, and finally the ferocious Christmas Cat. This was because no one dared a fishing trip onto the tumultuous seas in this season, or wanted slaughter an animal that could otherwise help them sustain their livelihoods in summer. Scopri le migliori foto stock e immagini editoriali di attualità di Christmas In Iceland su Getty Images. This custom makes Kertasníkir’s antics all the more troublesome. Giljagaur, or ‘Gully Gawk’, was the second Icelandic Christmas troll. Outsiders to Iceland, however, may have found a visit from Ketkrókur a blessing. In place of a piece of coal, naughty Icelandic children will find a potato in their shoe in the morning. Grýla also lives with her latest husband, a troll named Leppalúði. Her appetite for the flesh of naughty youths is insatiable, and each year, she finds no shortage of her favourite crop. Hurðaskellir has a modus operandi he learnt from another of the oldest of horror tropes. Christmas traditions in Iceland are an inseparable part of Icelandic history. 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. 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. The children are called the Yule Lads, and they’ve come to resemble an Icelandic version of Santa Claus. This delicious treat only comes out over Christmas time, and making it is often a cherished family affair, especially in the North. View this post on Instagram @everlastingfaint in Grýla’s … And none of these Icelandic Christmas creatures behaves in the way we are used to. Who is celebrated in Iceland at Christmas if not Santa Claus? An enormous black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this simple rule. It’s December 12th and the children of Iceland are about to be visited by the Yule Lads. 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. 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! 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. Family friendly online walking tour This is a family-friendly tour bringing Icelandic Christmas traditions straight to your home, brought to life with exciting stories and Icelandic folklore. Even thought they've undergone a transformation, the Yule Lad's original trademark looks and behaviour tell a wealth of information about Icelandic history, culture and folklore, and they are a great example of how festive traditions differ around the world. Jul 27, 2016 - Explore Tiny Iceland's board "Elves, Trolls & Yule Lads", followed by 2222 people on Pinterest. But, no Icelandic child is bad around Christmas-time. Iceland's 13 Trolls of Christmas In Iceland, there is no Santa Claus. 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. The coming of the Yule Lads marks the start of the Christmas season in Iceland. 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. 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. Not that we know exactly how you prepare for a troll attack. They … It is doubtless that with the high winds of Iceland’s winter and the makeshift design of many turf houses in Iceland that many a child was kept wide awake in terror over the Christmas season, fully believing that Hurðaskellir to be making his rounds through their home. The least threatening member of her family, he is brow-beaten to the point of pathetic. Sometimes, they get eaten. Invite the Icelandic Yule Lads into your home this Christmas! Iceland isn't the only country known for a seasonal surge in new book releases; France has a similar trend called Le rentrée littéraire. Icelandic Christmas folklore depicts mountain-dwelling characters and monsters who come to town during Christmas. 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. 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