23 December 2010
Besides all those nice and friendly elderly Father Christmases and Santa Clauses in the western world, Iceland has a totally different tradition in this regard. So if you are fed up with Coca Cola like Santas, you may alway visit the Icelandic Yule Lads at the National Museum of Iceland during Christmas season.
The thirteen Yule Lads ("Jolasveinar") and their parents, ogress Gryla and Leppaludi, are very special. Mother Gryla, for example, is known for putting misbehaving children in her sack and taking them with her to the mountains, where the family lives in caves throughout the year. Before christmas the Lads come down from the mountains into civilisation one by one, the first 13 days befor christmas, i.e. on 12 December, so that they are all in the city on 24 December.
They do not behave very well at all and each of them has a certain bad habbit that characterizes him and gives him his name. They do not wear the clean red and white attire of Santa Claus but old-fashioned ugly farmer cloths. Their names and order of appearance is:
Stekkjastaur (Sheep Cot Dolt, disturbes the sheep in the cot, 12 Dec)
Giljagaur (Gully Gawn, gets milk from the cows, 13 Dec)
Stúfur (Stump, snatches eatable things in the kitchen, 14 Dec)
Þvörusleikir (Ladle Licker, licks ladles of well smelling pots, 15 Dec)
Pottasleikir (Pot Cleaner, eats brunt food layers from the pots, 16 Dec)
Askasleikir (Food Bowl Licker, gets food rests left by children, 17 Dec)
Hurðaskellir (Door Slammer, slams doors throughout the night, 18 Dec)
Skyrgámur (Skyr Gobbler, steals skyr from the larders, 19 Dec)
Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage Picker, steals well-tasting sausages, 20 Dec)
Gluggagægir (Peeping Tom, makes faces to scare children, 21 Dec)
Gáttaþefur (Door Sniffer, sniffes for food in the houses, 22 Dec)
Ketkrókur (Meat Hook, hooks smoked lamb from the stove, 23 Dec)
Kertasníkir (Candle Beggar, snatches candles from the children, 24 Dec)
After they have all gathered and entertained people on Christmas eve, they return to the mountains again one by one until 6 January (Epiphany) when the Icelanders celebrate by bonfires and fireworks the end of Christmas and the beginning of that time of the year, when the elves return on horesback.
But if you are into patents even in regard to Christmas, you may consider the Father Christmas innovation story or the Christmas lights innovation history on the PatSnap blog or check out further Christmas patents. If you are more into social media, the "digital story of nativity" on YouTube might be something for you.
Happy Christmas and all the best for 2011!