Iceland’s Naughty Yule Lads – 16th December

Pottaskefill – Pot-Scraper. Pottaskefill is the Yule lad I can identify with the most. Pottaskefill races to get all the leftovers from pots, and even has a long, flat tongue to get all the leftovers out. Who can blame him? We all like seconds don’t we? You’ll need to be quick though with Pottaskefill around.  Pottaskefill arrives on December 16 and leaves on December 29.

 

The Yule lads, of which there are thirteen in Icelandic folklore, come from the mountains to visit every Christmas. They arrive one by one, and leave again fourteen days later. The Yule lads used to have a bit of a reputation, and whilst they are still mainly naughty, they now leave presents in children’s shoes left on window sills. Unless you have been naughty, of course, then you will receive nothing, or worse, a rotten potato.

Unlike Santa Claus, they do have this mischievous side. Each Yule lad has specialised in one sort of trickery or another, such as licking spoons, slamming doors and stealing sausages. The idea of Santa and the Yule lads has been confused over recent years, with the Yule lads now often seen adopting the red and white costume of Santa himself. This is either an image thing, or the cheeky little scamps might have just been at Santas wardrobe.

The Yule lads are the sons of Grýla and Leppalúði, both mountain dwelling trolls. Grýla is particularly fearsome, and is said to come looking for naughty children at Christmas to put in her pot. A newspaper even blamed Grýla for the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010, although this has never been proven. Leppalúði is a lazy, idle oaf. It’s no wonder that the lads turned out as they did.

Icelandic folklore states that everyone has to get one new piece of clothing at Christmas. Anyone who was left out is in danger of being eaten by a gruesome feline called the Christmas Cat. The Christmas Cat is Grýla’s cat, so thats where it gets its terrible manners, and every effort is made to ensure that no-one in the family gets caught by it. Cat flaps are not popular in Iceland for this reason.

 

I’ll introduce you to a Yule lad day by day, as they arrive.

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