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December 24, 2010 9:11 PM   Subscribe

This Christmas Eve spare a thought for the Chrildren of Iceland, who will be suffering a traumatising visit from Kertasníkir, or "Candle Beggar", the thirteenth and final of the strange and somewhat sinister Icelandic Santas, or Yule lads, who are the childre of the ogress Gryla. Most of them don't seem to care if you've been bad or good - mainly they want to steal your food and wreck stuff.

The other Yule Lads:
Stekkjastaur - "Sheep-Cote Clod" - has peg legs, steals ewes milk.
Giljagaur - "Gully Gawk" - hides in gullies, steals cows milk.
Stúfur - "Stubby" - Steals scraps of food, also known as Pönnuskefill ("Panscraper").
Þvörusleikir - "Spoonlicker" - Licks spoons.
Pottasleikir - "Pot Licker", scrapes and licks pots.
Askasleikir - "Bowllicker" - hides under beds to steal food from bowls left on the floor.
- Hurðaskellir - "Door Slammer" - compulsively slams doors all night.
Skyrgámur - "Skyr Gobbler" - devourers vats of skyr.
Bjúgnakrækir - "Sausage Swiper" - devourers sausages.
Gluggagægir - "Window peeper" - He likes to watch.
Gáttaþefur - "Door sniffer" - Smells out your cookies nad cakes and takes them.
Ketkrókur - "Meat hook" - Steals meat through the chimney with a hooked pole.
posted by Artw (27 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wasn't exactly looking for reasons to avoid iceland before, but now that you mention it...
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:21 PM on December 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


this would be my uncle stephens side of the family. "Door Slammer" - compulsively slams doors all night.

spoon licking is a hierarchical kitchen...thing. When children vie for the spoon, more chores will be done, it is incentive and tasty.
posted by clavdivs at 9:21 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Askasleikir - "Bowllicker" - hides under beds to steal food from bowls left on the floor.

This clears up several mysteries from college.
posted by nomadicink at 9:29 PM on December 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


So it's these guys that are responsible for the Icelandic financial crisis?
posted by mwhybark at 9:31 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


also, no Sökstìller, who takes one sock when you leave them on the floor at night?
posted by mwhybark at 9:33 PM on December 24, 2010


Sorry, of course that should be "Sökníkir."
posted by mwhybark at 9:35 PM on December 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


And I thought the Krampus was bad.
posted by clarknova at 9:41 PM on December 24, 2010


Too Many Santas:
Throughout much of the Christian world, Christmas is the time when Santa Claus dominates.

He's a fat jolly chap who is our friend.

In Iceland, however, they have 13 strange little Santas born of a very scary woman. Gryla is a female version of Hannibal Lector, and her 13 sons - the Jolasveinar, or Christmas lads - like raging Hell's Angels without motorbikes.

Such is the independence of Icelandic people they have held out against the globalisation of Christmas.

We travel to Iceland and interview leading author Sjon, Professor Terry Gunnell and meet a woman who met and spoke with an elf.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:44 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Yule Lads would like to make it clear that they had nothing to do with the dodgy banking.

The saliva-coated kitchen implements, however—that's all them.
posted by LMGM at 9:53 PM on December 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Smells out your cookies nad cakes and takes them.

Stay away from my nad cakes, fiend.
posted by homunculus at 9:54 PM on December 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


Stay away from my nad cakes, fiend.

He's climbin' down yo chimney, snatchin up yo nad cakes...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:36 PM on December 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Gryla herself, of course, was named one of The Onion's most influential people of 2010.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:50 PM on December 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Previously in Traumatic Metafilter Christmas.
posted by zamboni at 10:55 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Based on my interactions with Icelandic Mefites, I'm willing to let the Iceland Yules do whatever they want.
posted by The Whelk at 11:22 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


nad cakes nad cakes artw said nad cakes

(My friend Rob has never quite lived down an unfortunate IRC discussion of Wally West; his major contribution was something about the Flash just hitting things with his nads a million times per second.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 11:44 PM on December 24, 2010


Icelanders love weird, mythical shit. This post makes me want Jólabjór.
posted by auralcoral at 12:42 AM on December 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, of course that should be "Sökníkir."

Don't forget his sister, "Shöehidir."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:52 AM on December 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Yule Lads aren't too bad, not compared to The Yule Cat, a giant cat who stalks about on Christmas Eve, peering into houses, checking to see if any children are unlucky enough to have not received any new clothes for Christmas. If they haven't, he pounces on them and eats them. Gleðileg jól!
posted by Kattullus at 5:07 AM on December 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


we discussed the burning of Swedish Yule Goats last year, btw.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:00 AM on December 25, 2010


Btw, the Catalan have an amusing tradition called el caganer.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:09 AM on December 25, 2010


Previously on Metafilter: Zwarte Piet.
posted by iviken at 8:07 AM on December 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


One bit I'm unclear about. Do all 13 Yule Lads visit on Christmas eve, Santa style?

Or is this a Christmastide kind of thing, with a visit from each Lad on 13 successive nights (culminating with the visit from Kertasnikir)?

Or is this a Chinese calendar kind of thing* in which each Lad gets a Christmas Year all to himself?

------------------
*Or, if you prefer, even a DFW kind of thing: "Year of Cadged Candles"?
posted by notyou at 8:17 AM on December 25, 2010


I've had skyr. That dude can take all of it.
posted by Talanvor at 8:20 AM on December 25, 2010


Talanvor: he can take YOUR share, maybe. The rest of us have functioning taste buds.

I was just thinking about Zwarte Piet, iviken. Explaining to friends visiting Holland why there were women in blackface wearing absurd afro wigs and smiling like maniacs was ... difficult.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:37 AM on December 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a Christmastide kind of thing. Each lad visits successively in the days leading up to Christmas eve leaving a small gift in your shoe if you were good, otherwise a potato.
posted by abx1-se at 8:56 AM on December 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really really want a reindeer burger now.
posted by The Whelk at 9:26 AM on December 25, 2010


I really really want a reindeer burger now.

Better: reindeer roast with mushrooms, brussel sprouts, Hasselback potatoes and lingonberries. Serve with a nice Crozes Hermitage. Happy Christmas ->>>>*

(1adam12, I have skyr, oatmeal and fruit for lunch almost every day. If somebody stole my skyr from the office fridge, it would ruin my day...)
posted by iviken at 11:52 AM on December 25, 2010


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