A special period has begun for the Icelanders: as December 25 is approaching, many goblins make an exit.
They are called jólasveinar; these goblins are the sons of Grýla, and her husband Leppalúði, mountain trolls whose favorite dish is the meat of wicked children. They are accompanied by the Christmas cat, Jólakötturinn, who, if we believe the folklore, eats children who do not receive new clothes that day (it is customary for Icelandic children to receive new clothes at this time as a gift).
The jólasveinar are no nicer: each in turn, on the day said, they come from their northern highlands to visit the houses, and play villainous tricks on the inhabitants, each in his specialty.
And for children who put their shoes on window sills, they slip gifts, for those who have been nice ... for others, they will find a rotten potato.
A gang of badmouths that includes
- Stekkjastaur: the one who watches the lambs in the enclosure, and makes them mad
- Giljagaur: the one who slips through the ravines, waiting for an opportunity to sneak into the stables to steal milk
- Skyrgámur: the one who eats the skyr (white cheese)
- Þvörusleikir: the one who licks the wooden spoons
- Pottasleikir: the one who licks the pots
- Askasleikir: the one who licks the lid bowls
- Hurðaskellir: the one who slams the doors, especially at night
- Stúfur: little man, thief of casseroles
- Bjúgnakækir: the one who steals sausages being smoked
- Gluggaægir: the one who looks out of the window to find things to steal
- Gáttaþefur: the one who sniffs at the doors, to locate Icelandic bread
- Ketkrókur: the one who steals meat
- Kertasníkir: the one who sniffs candles , formerly made of tallow, to eat them.
Over the centuries, they have become nicer, but remain teasing and thieving. This change in character may have come from a 1746 law prohibiting children from being scared with troll stories, or from the growing legend of Santa Claus.
One in two Icelanders would try to believe in the existence of the hidden people, the huldufólk. What's more normal in a country where the almost permanent darkness in winter, with the fog present on the moor and its rocks drowning in it, or strange gleams in the sky ... all this develops the imagination.
And since the Icelanders are not the last ones to party, let's do the same, by inaugurating this period 13 days before with the jólasveinar.
Gleðileg jól - Happy Christmas
... with a little advance
Jólakötturinn's song (in Icelandic ... for the mood / Björk)