rannveig, is the Icelandic word "jol" from the same root as the Old English "yule" - meaning the ancient winter solstice celebration? Do you have a Yule Log at Christmas? Instead of burning a Yule Log, my English mother used to bake a sponge cake shaped like a log, cover it with spiky chocolate icing (like bark), sprinkle it with sugar (like snow), and stick a sprig of plastic holly on top. A strange custom, but it tasted better than fruit cake.
I'm a tad late catching up with you all. Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays. I'd like to wish everyone health and much happiness in the New Year! for a small group, this certainly is an international one :0)
June, I've always wanted to make one of those Yule log cakes.
Leftwood - yes Gleđileg jól means Merry Christmas (or happy Christmas...) and a Happy New Year is Gleđilegt nýtt ár!!! Hope you all have a wonderful, prosperous year ahead! :-)
June - yes "jól" is the same as "yule" ... but we don't have a yule log. We have lots of naughty "yule lads" (13) and a frightful "yule cat" ;-) I wrote a description of them on the Weather forum if any one's interested ...
The yule cat was a frightful cat that supposedly ate unfortunate children that didn't get any new clothes for Christmas - therefore it is most important that everyone gets at least one new item of clothing each year for Christmas ;-)
And I admit, I'm also somewhat of a culture freak too. I just had to go and read all about those 13 Yule lads, and enjoyed it very much, and the peak into your Christmas festivities too, Rann. Especially the one about the skate.
Rann, your daughters are darling! And it is so funny because my friend's daughter got a cockatiel a few months ago, and it's name is Kiki too!
Now for anyone who wants to know about those Yule lads, but didn't peruse those long threads, this is the "story", copied and pasted. I wish I could have pasted those pics too, but oh well.
13 Icelandic Yule Lads
Dec 12, 2006
Now back to the miscievous and unruly son's of the troll Grýla (that liked naughty kids for dinner) ... there are 13 of them and each one of them had their own favorite "crime" so to speak. They come one at a time, the first one 13 days before Christmas and the last one on Christmas Eve and leave one at a time as well, the first one on Christmas day and the last one on the 13th day of Christmas. When Grýla was still a threat to naughty kids these "yulelads" didn't bring much joy to people but since then they have been reformed by the jolly white bearded Santa Clause and are now his representatives x 13 here in Iceland :-) Kids put their shoe out in their window and if they're good they can expect a small gift in the morning, if not they get a potatoe. The first one arrive last night and then they'll come one each night until Christmas.
Dec 12, 2006
Today's yulelad is called Stekkjastaur - he used to hang out in the outhouses where the sheep were kept and startle them and whoever came to tend to them ... his name means that he had stiff legs.
Dec 13, 2006
Today's Yulelad is named Giljagaur. He lurked around the cowshed/barn and stole some milk when he got the chance. He brought the girls a window decoration and a candy stick.
Dec 14, 2006
Well, the third one came last night - Stúfur is his name ("Shortie") and as the name implies he's the shortest of the lot. Unlike the first two who mostly hung around the animal barns, Stúfur was most likely to be found lurking around the kitchen in the hopes of grabbing a frying pan when no one was looking. He liked to scrape off the bits that got stuck to the pan ;-) Now he's reformed like the others and he brought the girls something I can't remember the name of ... something you put in your hair to keep it away from your face ... help me out here ... Selma got a silver one and Hildur Eva a pink one and they were so pleased! Hildur Eva said "Stúfur (pron. Stoovur) was sooooo nice to us!!!!!" more than once :-D It'll get a bit tricky to keep track of who brought them what when we'll be half way down the line! So I'll have to make notes
Dec 15, 2006
Ţvörusleikir (Thvörusleykir - "ö" = u in hunt; "ey" = like in hey) made it down from the mountains last night and left the girls little toy animal figures, Selma got a tiger cub and Hildur Eva got an elephant calf :-) Back in his unruly days Ţvörusleikir was found lurking around the kitchen like Stúfur, but not hunting for frying pans ... he liked to grab a ladel to lick when "the cook" left the pots unattended.
Dec 16, 2006
Well, the 5th yule lad, Pottaskefill, came last night and brought the girls tiaras. Hildur Eva got a pink one with a butterfly and Selma Rún a silver one with pink "stones" ... they're wearing them ofcourse! Pottaskefill was one of the "kitchen bunch" but he wasn't interested in frying pans or ladels - he went for the pots.
Dec 17, 2006
The 6th one arrived last night and gave the girls matching magic wands with those tiaras :-) His name is Askasleikir. He was after the wooden containers pictured (called askur) which were used to serve food in. People used to put the leftovers out for the dogs and cats and he would try to get is share ;-)
Dec 18, 2006
The 7th one came last night and he brought the girls DVD's (Over the Hedge and Pipi longstocking) ... probably because one of them was sick ;-) He's one of Hildur Eva's favorites - she's been asking everynight if it's his turn yet ... lol. He's called Hurđaskellir and he didn't steal anything - he just liked to slam doors and make a racket to disturb people ... real nice guy lol!
Dec 19, 2006
Well the 8th one made it! His name is Skyrgámur and he was a big eater. He loved skyr (an icelandic dairy product - low fat, high protein - very good ;-)) and he ate it straight out of the barrel. He gave the girls plastic beads that are arranged on pegboards and then ironed to stick them together ... Hildur Eva got two little pegboards (girl and flower) and Selma got a pattern booklet as well :-)
Dec 20, 2006
Well the 9th one made it despite the storm and gave the girls stickers and chockolate teddybears :-) His name is bjúgnakrćkir and his passion in life were sausages. So you'd find him sneaking around the smokehouse or pantry looking for those ;-)
Dec 21, 2006
Nr. 10 came last night and brought the girls, plastic animal figures - Selma got a giraffe and Hildur Eva a zebra which they were both delighted with. His name is Gluggagćgir (Window peeper) and that's what he did - he peeped through windows to see if there was anything inside he wanted ... he wasn't as particular as most of the other ones ;-)
Dec 22, 2006
Nr. 11 came last night and brought the girls little christmas statues and stickers - Hildur Eva got a very cute snow man and Selma a Santa. He is probably the most popular of the lads - He has two childrens Christmas records with his name on it and also frequents many Christmas dances over the holidays. His name is Gáttaţefur and despite his very large nose he's never been known to get a cold. He can however smell "Laufabrauđ" (="leaf bread") from a very great distance and that is his favorite. "Leaf bread" is a traditional pastry that was made for the holidays and is a very essential side dish with the traditional smoked lamb we always have over the holidays (usually on Christmas Day). In centuries past when there was no way to get here but by sea Iceland was very isolated and food that had to be imported like flour and sugar were luxuries people really couldn't afford except on special occations. Therefore bread was a luxury for most people that could only be offered on Christmas and to make the most of the very precious flour the cakes were made very thin (you were preferrably supposed to be able to read the bible through them) and then "leaf" patterns were carved in them for decoration.
Here's a link to give you an idea of how they look. They're made with flour and milk and a little sugar and then deep fried ( in the past people used tallow (?) (sheep's fat)) http://www.jol.is/laufabraud.php?id=32
Dec 23, 2006
The 12th one arrived last night, or rather early this morning (must have been running late because of the storm ;-)) and brought the girls small books (Mr. Birthday and Miss Christmas). His name is Kjötkrókur and he went straight for the good stuff - the smoked lamb that is the traditional Christmas meal. The last one arrives tomorrow :-)
Dec 24, 2006
The last one of the Yulelads (Jólasveinar) came last night and his name is Kertasníkir. He was after the candles that were a common Christmas present way back when. At that time they were made out of tallow so they were edible ... he liked those better than the wax candles today :-) lol He brougth the girls books and necklaces. So that's the lot - now Stekkjastaur is supposed to be leaving tomorrow and then one by one until Kertasníkir leaves on the 13th day of Christmas (Jan. 6th). They have cheated however in recent years and have been known to come early and stay longer than they did in the past, probably since they're very busy making appearances at Christmas dances over the holidays.
Dec 25, 2006
I wish you all a wonderful day :-) Merry Christmas! and Gleđileg jól (Glethileg Yol => "i" as in "in"; "o" as in "yo!" ;-))
Leftwood - that is a funny conicident with the Cockatiels named Kiki - do you know if that name has anything to do with Enid Blyton's Adventure books in you friend's daughter's case?? Are they even known in the US I wonder. Anyway - that's where the name of our Kiki comes from - there was a character in those books - a very talkative parrot named Kíkí and Selma Rún just loved him ;-)
Here's a photo taken on New Year's Eve - this is taken just outside town - the veiw is over the neighborhood where I live :-) It's an hour of madness around midnight - incredible amount of fireworks everywhere and a lot of noise! It was a very still night this year so there was a thick cloud of smoke hanging over the city for about 3 hours - looked like fog it was so thick ...
Wow! That is one cool shot! Looks like everyone is sending up fireworks. Don't know about Enid Blyton, but I'll ask. I work with my friend everyday and I wouldn't be surprised if his daughter, Hope, has read her stories. She is quite a bookworm.
Thanks for posting the pics. It rounds out the story. And no need to be sorry. I am single, but I know that anyone with a family is far from lazy!
That's exactly the case - everyone is sending up fireworks ... well at least somebody in every street that is ... and that's quite enough! Thanks leftwood - yeah - with two girls I get limited computer time ;-)
Kinda late getin' back, Rann. My friend's daughter hasn't read anything from Enid Blyton. Hope is now reading a serious of books called Warriors, which are fictional stories about cat (the animal) gangs. Don't know who the author is. And also, I guess I was wrong abut Kiki, because her cockatiel's name is Cookie. But it's close.
Hi Leftwood :-) Sorry I'm so late in getting here. I'm curious - what did they say about the elves ? ;-) We have these "elve rocks" all over the place that are left undisturbed since unfortunate accidents have been known to happen to those that disturb them ;-) Here's a photo of one.
Thanks for the link Leftwood - very interesting report ;-) That elf capital is my hometown by the way ;-) lol The elf medium Erla (can't remember her last name) takes people on tours during the summer months. It's very true that although not many people would admit that they believe elves exist, there aren't that many that would dare to upset them ;-) Since Hafnarfjördur is in part built on lava there are a lot of those undisturbed rocks around. There's one house that has a big one right at the side of the house, so close you can hardly get between the house and the rock ... I might try to get a photo of it one day ;-) Kids are told stories about the elves at school so the stories are very much kept alive. My older daughter spent a lot of time last summer out in the lava field by the end of our street "helping" the elves there ;-) lol As mentioned these "elves" are human size and look the same, except they are believed to be better dressed - they're also known as "hidden people".
Incidently the elves are believed to move on New Year's Eve. Unfortunately I'm not very familiar with the stories but the custom was that when people went to church on New Year's Eve, one person would have to stay behind to guard the house from the elves. If they visitied it was most important for the house-sitter not to upset them or he could get seriously hurt or even killed. Not sure what the point was of "guarding" the house since you couldn't really do anything, but I imagine being a house sitter on New Years Eve wasn't a very sought after position ;-)