Customs

Making a List of Who is Naughty, Nice, and Who Will Be Eaten


Icelandic-Yule-Lads

Not content with just one Santa Claus, Iceland has thirteen of them. Known as “Jolasveinar” or “Yule Lads,” they are the sons of the trolls Gryla and Leppaludi, who would eat children who have been naughty throughout the year. Originally the Jolasveinar were much like their parents, but they mellowed with the years, and instead of eating naughty children, they would simply ruin Christmas for them by stealing food, killing cows, taking presents, etc.

There is some debate about just how many Jolasveinar there are, with numbers ranging from 10 to 15. Most agree on 13.

Each of the Jolasveinar arrive and depart on specific dates. During this time they each have a mission, such as Bjúgnakrækir, who spends December 20 through January 2 hiding in rafters, looking for sausages that he can swipe, or Stekkjarstaur, who harasses sheep from December 12 through December 25.

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