The Many Horrors of Icelandic Christmas

The Many Horrors of Icelandic Christmas
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A statue of Skyrgámur, son of Grýla and Yule, at Keflavik International Airport

A statue of Skyrgámur, son of Grýla and Yule, at Keflavik International Airport

my condolences to your children Iceland. While many Christmas celebrations around the world are filled with comfort, joy, and widespread consumerism, for young Icelanders this is time of terror, where you’re lucky to have saved your life… or a potato. At the very least, that seems to be the case, fascinatingly accordingly. scary folklore

Let’s start with Grýla, a giant half-troll, half-animal creature living in the mountains of Dimmuburgir who comes in search of mischievous children to be kidnapped at Christmas. When she takes them home, she boils them alive in her cauldron to make a hot stew that will last until next winter for herself and her third husband, Leppalúði. It seems that Icelandic children are indeed afraid of Grýla; Depictions of the ogre can be seen across the country, although sometimes it looks more like a huge, gnarled old woman than a monster. However, according Icelandic Legends collected by Jón ArnasenPublished in English in 1864, here is an explanation of why it evokes real fear:

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“Grýla had three hundred heads, six eyes on each head, plus two purple and ghostly blue eyes on the back of each neck. He had goat horns and his ears were long enough to meet his shoulders and the other end to the tips of his three hundred noses. One on each forehead. he had wisps of hair and a tangled and filthy beard on each jaw. His teeth were like burnt lava. He had a sack tied to everything, in which he carried mischievous children, and besides, he had horse-like hooves. Besides all that, he had fifteen tails and twenty children on each tail. There were a hundred bags of leather to buy.

This means that Grýla has caught up to 2,000 mischievous children at a time, suggesting that he is an extraordinarily efficient kidnapper, or that Iceland has an unimaginably dreadful mischief problem. for the registration, official tourism site Iceland softens Grýla’s image by saying that “only children who misbehave, but those who repent must be released”, but I can’t find any other source to back this up.

Fortunately, Grýla managed to find love—marriage, at least—on three different occasions. The first two were called Gustur and Boli; legends vary according to whether they were eaten, killed, or died of old age (and who died in what way). She is currently married to the troll Leppalúði, who is lazing around in her caves, while Grýla does all the work of kidnapping and cooking the children. But they definitely have chemistry! The couple have 33 children, 13 of whom are collectively known as the “Yule Lads”.

The Yule Boys aren’t killers, thankfully, but they’re creepy. On each of the 13 days before Christmas, one of these brothers comes to people’s homes and does something uniquely unpleasant. According to this Iceland TravelThey also have lots These are the names that evoke…

1) Sheep Cote Clod (Stekkjastaur)

When he arrived on December 12, he would find the sheep and drink the milk directly from their udders.

2) Gully Gawk (Giljagaur)

On December 13, old Giljagaur expected “a chance to sneak into the barn to slurp up the foam of fresh milk when the milkmaid looks away.” The words of Iceland Travel are not mine.

3) Short

Fortunately, not all milk is perverted. When Stúfur arrives in town on December 14, she wants the leftovers in the frying pans.

4) Spoon Licker (Þvörüsleikir)

Many Yule Boys like to clean dishes by hand. You can probably guess what Þvörüsleikir did on December 15th.

5) Pot Scraper (Pottasleikir)

Exactly, but for December 16.

6) Bowl Licker (Askasleikir)

These guys may seem good-natured, but they leave you with troll spit all over the place. Anyway, on December 17, the bowls are licked.

7) Door Slammer (Hurðaskellir)

On December 18, Hurðaskellir arrives and slams the doors viciously and in the middle of the night your cookware and utensils are safe.

8) Skyr Gobbler (Skyrgamur)

When the doors close, the Yule Boys turn their attention to the food. On December 19, Skyr Gobbler skyran Icelandic dairy product similar to yogurt.

9) Sausage Sausage (Bjúgnakrækir)

Pretty self-explanatory and yes, it’s coming December 20. But it’s hiding in the rafters of your house while you wait to slide the unnecessarily spooky-looking sausages.

10) Window Peeper (Gluggagægir)

Despite the English connotations of the word “peeper”, ol’ Gluggagægir is looking for something to play in the shop windows on December 21.

11) Gate Sniffer (Gáttashefur)

Easily named the saddest Yule Lad on this list, Gáttashefur is actually one of the most well-mannered—he stays out unless he turns up at your door and smells Christmas cookies on December 22nd.

12) Meat Hook (Kjetkrókur)

And back to meat theft! On December 23, Gáttashefur heads to your castle and lowers a hook into your chimney, hoping to grab any meat that hangs from the beams or is cooked on the fire.

13) Candle Beggar (Kertasníkir)

Finally, Christmas Eve sees the arrival of Kertasníkir, who strangely wants to get some of the candles.

Despite their particular fetishes, the Yule Boys will leave a small reward for kids who leave their shoes on the window sills – if they’re good. If they’re not naughty, they’ll get a rotting potato, but will likely be killed and eaten by Grýla before they have a chance to find it.

But Grýla isn’t the only killer stalking Iceland at Christmas. Grýla has a cat named. Jolakötterinn, the Yule Cat, black as night and towering above houses, with a very unique appetite. She’s said to be walking around town and eating anyone—not just the kids—who doesn’t buy a piece of clothing for Christmas. While the folklore of the Yule Cat goes back centuries, it was made famous in Iceland by Jóhannes úr Kötlum, who wrote a poem about it in 1932 by Jóhannes úr Kötlum. This was later set to music recorded later by t.Icelandic pop star Bjork. Here’s some of what seems most popular, although realistically, translation Poetry on the Internet:

If someone from the outside heard a weak “meow”

Then it was sure to be bad luck

Everyone knew he preyed on men.

And the mouse didn’t want

Followed by poorer people

Who has not bought new clothes

It’s close to Christmas – and she tried and lived

in the worst conditions

received from them at the same time

All Christmas food

And they ate them too

if he can

That’s why women competed.

Shaking, sowing and turning

And knitted colorful clothes

or a little sock

Brutal, huh? The good news is that the Yule Cat is not only a ruthless killer of the poor, but also a cruel reminder that should be given to those in need… so they don’t get killed by a cat. The poem continues:

I still don’t know if

But it wouldn’t be his trip for nothing

If everybody gets next Christmas

some new cloth

you may want to keep in mind

Helps if there is a need

‘Cause there might be kids somewhere

Who doesn’t buy anything

Maybe he’s looking for the sufferers

From a lack of light

It will give you a happy season

and merry christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! And sorry, Iceland.

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