Day tours in Iceland, Akureyri and Reykjavik

Bjugnakraekir, Tuesday 20th December

The Sausage-Swiper is today's villain...he hides in the rafters of the kitchen, and steals the sausages being smoked over the fire whenever he gets the chance ! Of course, it must be a little difficult having to endure the smoke for all that length of time, but Sausage-Swiper is a Yule Lad on a mission, and he will not be easily deterred from securing his quarry ! This super-heavyweight sausage on the left, is about to be consumed with a lip-smacking relish borne of long winter nights and an endless wait for Christmas.
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Skyrgamur, Monday 19th December

Well...it was only a matter of time before the Yule Lads turned their attention to their stomachs, once more !! Enter Skyr-Gobbler stage left, his mission in life being to misappropriate skyr whenever he can. Now, for the uninitiated, skyr is a dairy product from Iceland and physically similar to strained yogurt, although technically it is actually a very soft cheese...but not cheesey...if you know what I mean. Anyway, it is very healthy and ultra-low fat, and is now available in a selection of yogurt-style flavours. Skyr-Gobbler says that he is partial to the Vanilla one, although Strawberry is his favourite. 
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Hurdaskellir, Sunday 18th December

Now, Door-Slammer has come to town ! He loves to slam those unfastened doors...especially when everybody is tucked up all cosy and warm in bed at night. This is the time of year when the wild winds blow, and those old doors are always rattling away on their hinges. Sometimes the doors break free, and the wind comes whistling and roaring around the house like a demon...then the wind leaves...the door slams...and there is silence once more. Some people blame the wind for the slamming doors...but, others know better ! 
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Askasleikir, Saturday 17th December

Today, Bowl-Licker comes to town, and you might find him in the bedroom rather than the kitchen. He hides under beds waiting for someone to put down their 'askur' (a type of bowl with a lid, used instead of plates), which he then steals. Now, given that in Olden Days one might expect to find...shall we say...a "choice" of bowls under a bed, then I should imagine that Bowl-Licker's particular weakness comes with a certain degree of personal risk !
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Pottaskefill, Friday 16th December

Ah...time to be wary in the kitchen, once more ! Pot Scraper is on the go. There was a time when he was also known as Pottasleikir (Pot Licker), but like all naughty criminals, he likes to change his name every so often in a vain effort to elude the forces of law and order, and certainly whomsoever is working in the kitchen. So, after a hard day's toiling over the stove...and before you put all the pots in the sink for washing, just have a quick look in each to make sure this fellow isn't doing the job for you ! 
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Thvorusleikir, Thursday 15th December

Today's Chrismas miscreant coming to town is...Spoon-Licker. His Icelandic name is derived from "Thvorur", a long-handled wooden spoon, and the verb "sleikir", to lick. He is extremely thin, and probably suffering from malnutrition. As we are gradually introduced to the Yule Men, one by one, you will see that they have some favourite places they like to hang out...and, the kitchen is high on that list. So, when going about the daily culinary chores, it's wise to use those eyes in the back of your head to watch the spoons !
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Stufur, Wednesday 14th December

Stufur (Stubby in English) comes to town today, and stays for the customary two weeks. He is abnormally short, and steals pans from the kitchen in order to eat the crusts left on them ! Of course, this is the time of year when wives (and occasionally husbands, too) the length and breadth of the country, are baking cakes, pies and biscuits, so Stufur is always hanging around kitchens to see what he can pinch !
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Giljagaur, Tuesday 13th December

Giljagaur, or Gully Gawk, hides in gullies and waits for an opportunity to sneak into the cowshed and steal the milk. Like the other Santa's, he stays for two weeks also...so, you had better make sure that the cowshed door is properly secured at all times !
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Stekkjastaur, Monday 12th December

Stekkjastaur is the first Santa...and his English title is Sheep Cote Clod. He spends his time harassing and worrying sheep, but is impaired by his stiff wooden legs ! He arrives on the 12th and stays until the 25th, so you had better keep all your sheep safely indoors for those two weeks !
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The Yule Lads...the Icelandic Santas...there are 13 !

The Yule Lads, or Yulemen, are figures from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus. Their number has varied throughout the ages, but currently there are considered to be thirteen. The Yule Lads were originally portrayed as being mischievous, or even criminal, pranksters who would steal from or harass the population, at the time mostly rural farmers. They all had descriptive names that conveyed their particular quirks and predilections. The Yule Lads are traditionally said to be the sons of the mountain-dwelling trolls Gryla and Leppalúði. Additionally, the Yule Lads are often depicted with the Yuletide Cat, a beast that, according to folklore, eats children who don't receive new clothes in time for Christmas ! So, there ! In modern times the Yule Lads have been depicted as taking on a more benevolent role, comparable to the conventional Santa Claus, by putting small gifts (or potatoes if the child has misbehaved) into shoes placed by children into their windows the last thirteen nights before Christmas Eve. They are occasionally depicted as wearing the costume traditionally worn by Santa Claus, but are otherwise generally shown wearing late medieval style Icelandic clothing.
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