Tuesday, 20 December 2016

óþekkur eða gott (naughty or nice)

Reports that one Icelandic Christmas figure, Kertasníkir, remains popular but might be slipping in the rankings with the younger demographic, I had to investigate more into these so called Yule Lads and what roles they played in the season’s celebrations.
The sons of mountain-trolls, the Yule Lads (jólasveinar) are said to come to town during the thirteen days preceding Christmas Eve (compare to Twelfth Night that marks the end of Christmastide), often bringing in tow their ferocious Yule Cat that was to devour children whom did not receive new clothes for Christmas (or perhaps those recalcitrant ones that complain about getting socks) whereas the Yule Lads mostly have a taste for human leftovers, and visits each child to mete out rewards or punishment according to the child’s behaviour (though the centuries and modern parenting practises seem to have mellowed them significantly). Kertasníkir is the Candle-Thief (candles being made of tallow and therefore edible) with other popular brothers being Stúfur, a stubby one known for steeling pans to gnaw the crusts left on them, or Hurðaskellir, who plays distraction by slamming doors at all hours so his compatriots can commit mischief unimpeded.