THE 13 YULE LADS

Who are these mischievous prankers?

They are 13 brothers who come to town every night for the last thirteen nights before Yule.

Not regular parents

Their mum is Grýla, a giantess with an appetite for the flesh of mischievous children, whom she cooks in a large pot. She has the ability to know when the children are not behaving in a proper manner, scary! But it's at Christmas when she leaves her cave to hunt for children to prepare her meals. We know, this doesn't sound very festive.

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

 

Her husband Leppalúði is lazy and mostly stays at home in their cave. And let's not forget their cat, the Yule Cat, also known as Jólakötturinn, a haired and vicious cat that eats everybody who doesn't receive new clothes before Christmas Eve. You can find a huge sculpture of this cat right in the center of downtown Reykavik, and right next to our store!

I think now we can imagine why their children are mischievous.

Where is the fun?

Every night for the last 13 days before Christmas every child has to leave a shoe on the window sill where it will remain till Christmas day. Every night, a different one of the Yule brothers will come to visit the household and leave a small present on the shoe, but if the children misbehave, they will instead find a rotten potato in the morning.

Well, we also have to mention, that each of them has a peculiarity, most of them are related to food or stealing, so careful about that.

The Yule Lads

STEKKJASTAUR

December 12 

It translates to sheepcote clod, he is the first Yule Lad to visit children's houses and he comes on the 12th of December. He is said to steal milk from the sheep and he was known for having two wool legs pegged. That night the well-behaved children receive their first present.

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

 GILJAGAUR

December 13

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

The second Yule Lad comes on the night of the 13th of December. This one likes to hide inside barns and steal the froth of the milk buckets.

STÚFUR

December 14

Or stubby, is the shortest one of the Yule Lads and he comes the night before the 14th of December. He likes stealing pans to eat the crust lefts on them. Well, these ones are obsessed with stealing.

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

ÞVÖRUSLEIKIR

December 15

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

In contrast with the third Yule Lad this one is tall and thin, and his favourite passtime, stealing þvörur (long wooden spoons) from the kitchen to lick them.

POTTASKEFILL

December 16

It translate to pot licker, the fifth of the Yule Lads comes the night before the 16th of December. This one instead of licking wooden spoons, licks pots. Not the cleanest dudes. 

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

ASKASLEIKIR

December 17

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

What is the obsession with these ones with leftovers? Bowl-licker comes the night before 17th of December. He hides under the bed and steal the askur, a wooden plate used in the past for all meals. 

HURÐASKELLIR

December 18

The theme changes here, as the seventh of the Yule Lads slams doors. Do not get scared of noises that night, you know who's guilty.

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

SKYRGÁMUR

December 19

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

We all love Skyr in Iceland, that is a fact, but this Yule Lad is especially obsessed with it. His name is Skyr Gobbler so no surprises here.

BJÚGNAKRÆKIR

December 20

Did you think we were over with stealing? Not quite yet, the ninth of the Yule Lads is famous for stealing the sausages that are being smoked in the houses.

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

GLUGGAGÆGIR

December 21

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

 

The tenth of the Yule Lads is the smartest but also the creepiest one. He looks inside houses to see if there is something to steal. Little advice, keep your curtains closed on the 21st of December.

GÁTTAÞEFUR

December 22

With a really large nose, this Yule Lad has quite a sense of smell. Thanks to that he can find all the Laufabrauð there is in the house. Laufabrauð is a traditional Icelandic bread eaten only over the Christmas season.

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

KETKRÓKUR

December 23

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

 

The night before December 23, comes the Yule Lad who uses a hook but don't be afraid, it is just to steal meat.

KERTASNÍKIR

December 24

The last of the Yule lads, the number thirteen, comes the night of Christmas eve. The candles used to be made of fat, and therefore they were edible. He followed children around just to steal their candles. We are glad of wax!

IIlustration by Brian Pilkington©

 

 

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