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13 Icelandic Jólasveinar – Santa Clauses in Iceland


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Iceland is full of old traditions concerning the Christmas period and some of them are native to Iceland. For example, there are no fewer than 13 Icelandic Santa Clauses, called jólasveinar ("Yuletide Lads"; singular: jólasveinn). Their parents are Grýla, a mean old woman who drags off naughty children, and Leppalúði, who is not as mean.

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13 Icelandic Jólasveinar – Santa Clauses in Iceland

  1. 1. 13 Icelandic Jólasveinar – Santa Clauses in Iceland Leikskólinn Furugrund Iceland
  2. 2. Jólasveinar – Santa Clauses <ul><li>The 13 Icelandic Jólasveinar live in the mountains and start to arrive in town, one a day, thirteen days (12.12) before Christmas Eve with the last one arriving that morning. They leave little presents for the children in shoes the children have placed on the windowsill the night before. If the children have been naughty, they leave a potato or some other reminder that good behaviour is better. They start departing for home again on Christmas Day, with the last one departing on Þrettándinn . </li></ul><ul><li>After Christmas, they also leave one by one. The Christmas season lasts 26 days. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Jólasveinar first appeared in the 17th century as the sons of Grýla and Leppalúði, who themselves had appeared in the 13th century and had earned a reputation for stealing and eating naughty children. </li></ul><ul><li>Thirteen of the most commonly accepted names of the Jólasveinar are: </li></ul>
  4. 4. December 12th Stekkjarstaur - Gimpy
  5. 5. December 13th Giljagaur - Gully Imp
  6. 6. December 14th Stúfur - Itty Bitty
  7. 7. December 15th Þvörusleikir - Pot Scraper Licker
  8. 8. December 16th Pottasleikir - Pot Licker
  9. 9. December 17th Askasleikir - Bowl Licker
  10. 10. December 18th Hurðaskellir - Door Slammer
  11. 11. December 19th Skyrgámur - Skyr Gobbler
  12. 12. December 20th Bjúgnakrækir - Sausage Snatcher
  13. 13. December 21st Gluggagægir - Window Peeper
  14. 14. December 22nd Gáttaþefur - Doorway Sniffer
  15. 15. December 23rd Ketkrókur - Meat Hooker
  16. 16. December 24th Kertasníkir - Candle Beggar
  17. 17. <ul><li>When they first appeared the Jólasveinar had many of the attributes of their parents but soon started to seem milder. In the last century they gained some of the attributes of their Nordic counterparts, and in this century have become home grown versions of St. Nick or Santa Clauses. </li></ul>
  18. 18. At first the clothing of the Jólasveinar was just the ordinary, every-day wear of the common Icelander. In this century they have taken to wearing the traditional red suits of St. Nick or Santa Claus. In the last few years there has been a revival of the old style clothing.
  19. 19. Grýla Grýla is in Icelandic mythology a horrifying monster and an ogress living in the mountains of Iceland. She is said to come from the mountains at Christmas in search of naughty children. The Grýla legend has been frightening to the people of Iceland for many centuries - her name is even mentioned in Snorri Sturluson's thirteenth century Edda. Grýla was not directly linked to Christmas until in the 17th century. By that time she had become the mother of the Yule Lads.
  20. 20. Leppalúði According to folklore Grýla has been married three times. Her third husband Leppalúði is said to be living with her in their cave in the mountains with the big black Christmas cat and their sons. As Christmas approaches, Grýla sets off looking for naughty boys and girls. The Grýla legend has appeared in many stories, poems, songs and plays in Iceland and sometimes Grýla dies in the end of the story.
  21. 21. The end