The Christmas Cat

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 belongs to Grýla – the terrible mother of the Yule Lads – so that is where it gets […]

Iceland’s (Lego) Yule Lads – Bjúgnakrækir

Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage-Swiper) – In the olden days, Bjúgnakrækir hid in the rafters of turf houses and snatched sausages that were being smoked. These are called Bjúga and were thick sausages made out of horsemeat or lamb. Nowadays, Bjúgnakrækir eats any sausage he can get his hands on, especially the delicious ones in Plysur. Bjúgnakrækir arrives […]

Iceland’s (Lego) Yule Lads – Skyrgámur

Skyrgámur (Skyr-Gobbler ) – I cant be too hard on this Yule Lad. He and I share an affinity for skyr. We both love this traditional Icelandic yoghurt-style dessert, alhough he prefers the old fashioned, unsweetend type. I prefer the blueberry ones. He has even has a bit of a belly from eating so much […]

Iceland’s (Lego) Yule Lads – Hurðaskellir

Hurðaskellir (Door-Slammer) – A Silent Night is unlikely with this lad. He loves to sharply slam doors, causing a huge bang, especially during the night. He isn’t doing it to frighten you, just for the fun of doing it. It is still noisy though. Hurðaskellir arrives on December 18 and departs on December 31.

Best Icelandic Albums of 2013

It’s the end of the year. I like lists. There is only one logical conclusion. Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn’t I? What follows, then, is my end of year list of Icelandic albums. It’s not based on anything but my taste in music, and the albums released over the past year(ish!) by […]

Iceland’s (Lego) Yule Lads – Askasleikir

Askasleikir (Bowl-Licker) This naughty little fellow hides under beds waiting for someone to put down their ‘askur’ (a type of wooden bowl with a lid used in days gone by), which he then raids for scraps of food. Askur are difficult to find these days, and Askasleikir has had to take some tips from Þvörusleikir […]

Book Review: Blue Eyed Pop

Dr. Gunni (real name: Gunnar Lárus Hjálmarsson) is our guide through popular music in Iceland. It’s some sort of journey, with twists, turns and some dead-ends. It’s a good job that Dr. Gunni is a worthy guide, with enough knowledge, images and personality to forge a path through this weighty tome. The title Blue Eyed […]

Iceland’s (Lego) Yule Lads – Pottaskefill

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. […]

Christmas With Grúska Babúska

Harpa Fönn Sigurjónsdóttir is one part of Grúska Babúska. I’ve been intrigued by Grúska Babúska and their music for a while now, but having heard about Harpa’s firm belief in the Icelandic Yule Lads, I can see why their music is just so enchanting. Oh, and they also have a new record coming out. It’s […]

Iceland’s (Lego) Yule Lads – Þvörusleikir

Þvörusleikir – Spoon-Licker/Ladle-licker. Þvörusleikir likes nothing more than Þvörur (a type of a wooden spoon with a long handle) or any sort of spoon or ladle to lick. He has a good slurp to get the most from each spoon. Its not working out that well though, as Þvörusleikir is often extremely thin due to […]