smoked lamb

Icelandic Christmas

In Iceland Christmas (Jól) is celebrated on the 24th of December and we trade presents with our family. Santa does not bring the present but one of the ‘Yule lads’ (I’ll get to those in a sec) might pop by and give the children a mandarin and some candy.

For Christmas dinner people usually eat smoked lamb (hangikjöt), pork or Turkey. Usually Laufabrauð (leaf bread) which is a thin crusty fried bread is usually also served with the food.

The Yule lads as the Icelandic ‘jólasveinar’ are called in English  are thirteen troll men that live somewhere in the mountains. They used to be steal and scare people before they met the Finnish Santa ‘Joulupukki’ who taught them to be nice and give not steal. The Yule lads are an Icelandic replacement for Santa Claus nowadays.

Thirteen nights before Christmas Icelandic children put their shoe on the window sill and every night one of the Yule lads puts a small present into the shoe. If the child has been naughty the Yule lad might put a potato instead of a present in the shoe.

All of the Yule lads have their own name. They are:

Stekkjastaur =  Sheep-Cote Clod (he harasses sheep) 

Giljagaur =  Gully Gawk  (he steals milk) 

Stúfur = Stubby (he is the smallest one and steals people’s pans)

 Þvörusleikir = Spoon licker (the name says it all) 

Pottaskefill = Pot-Scraper (eats the leftovers in pots) 

Askasleikir = Bowl-Licker (hides under beds waiting for someone to put down their ‘askur’ (a type of bowl with a lid used instead of dishes), which he then steals) 

Hurðaskellir Door-Slammer (slams people’s doors in the middle of the night)

Skyrgámur = Skyr-Gobbler (eats people’s skyr)

Bjúgnakrækir = Sausage-Swiper (steals sausages while they are being smoked)

Gluggagægir = Window-Peeper (stares through people’s windows)

Gáttaþefur = Doorway-Sniffer (he has a huge nose and tries to smell laufabrauð with it)

KetkrókurMeat-Hook (steals meat with a hook)

Kertasníkir = Candle-Stealer (follows kids and steals their candles

Then they of course have a mom ‘Grýla’ and a dad ‘Leppalúði’. Grýla owns a cat ‘jólakötturinn’ that goes before Christmas looking for naughty children which Grýla will then collect into a huge sack and make soup of for herself and Leppalúði. Parents used to threaten their children to behave nicely or else Grýla will come and take them.

Here is a painting of Grýla

Pictured above is the crime scene where 25 year old Carolyn Marie Sinclair was found after she was murdered by serial killer Shawn Lamb. Lamb was a drug addict and a career criminal who is thought to be responsible for the murders of three women, although the remains of one of the victims is yet to be found.

Sinclair was beaten with an axe handle after the pair returned to his apartment to smoke crack cocaine. Lamb explained that Sinclair had taken most of the drugs and locked herself in the bathroom, this resulted in the beating, although as she appeared to be conscious Lamb went on to choke her until she lost consciousness and subsequently died.

Lamb plead guilty to two counts of manslaughter and the majority of the evidence that police had against him consisted of statements that Lamb himself had made, including informing police where they could find Sinclair’s body. Lamb was given a 20 years sentence for the murders, with at least 10 to be served in prison.

The 2014 End of the Year Book Awards Photo Challenge.

Best Characters: Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs), The Hempstocks (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Zusana (Daughter of Smoke and Bone), Darrow (Red Rising), Paige Mahony (The Bone Season), Alice (The Magicians). 

neaaap asked: Hi! I was wondering if you could recommend books that take place in Italy? Thanks! P.S I really like your page :)

 I’m so glad you like my page :)! Here are some books that are set in Italy! If you want more YA or more adult, just let me know, and I can give you some more of whichever! I hope that one of these sticks out to you! I can’t wait to visit Italy one day! Also, I think I have a post for books in Italy without much romance, so if you are more into that, I’ll hunt it down for you! 

1. A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena De Blasi

“Much of my crying is for joy and wonder rather than for pain. A trumpet’s wailing, a wind’s warm breath, the chink of a bell on an errant lamb, the smoke from a candle just spent, first light, twilight, firelight. Everyday beauty. I cry for how life intoxicates. And maybe just a little for how swiftly it runs.”

2. The Flight of the Falcon by Daphne du Maurier 

“No one could walk by night for fear of the of Falcon’s sudden descent into the city when, aided by his followers, he would seize and ravage….”

3. Juliet by Anne Fortier

“Everything we say is a story. But nothing we say is just a story.”

4. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim 

“Beauty made you love, and love made you beautiful.”

5. The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper

“Problems can be fixed. But unrequited love is a tragedy.”

6. Love, Lucy by April Lindner

“When a person really loves something… or someone…You just have to…You just have to stand back and let them.”

Thanks so much for the question! Happy reading! 

Much love, 

Lauren