Last night I saw the premiere of a new play in English for tourists visiting Iceland. The play, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, is about the Icelandic Yule Lads in modern times. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - A Play about the Icelandic Yule Lads

Photo courtesy of the director of the play.

Our original Yule Lads, all 13 of them, were pranksters and all of them have their special name, which describes their mischievous conduct. Their names are:

Stekkjastaur- Sheep Cote Clod
Giljagaur - Gully Gawk
Stúfur - Stubby
Þvörusleikir - Spoon Licker
Pottaskefill - Pot Scraper
Askasleikir - Bowl Licker
Hurðaskellir - Door Slammer (he loves waking people up by slamming doors)
Skyrgámur - Skyr Gobbler
Bjúgnakrækir - Sausage Swiper
Gluggagægir - Window Peeper
Gáttaþefur - Doorway Sniffer
Ketkrókur - Meat Hook
Kertasníkir - Candle Beggar

By their names, you can see that they are up to mischief ;) In the play, you will be introduced to each and every one of them!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - A Play about the Icelandic Yule Lads

Photo courtesy of the director of the play.

Thirteen days before Christmas the first Yule Lad comes to inhabited areas and then a new one arrives every day until the last one arrives on the 24th of December. 

It is a tradition for young kids to leave their best (or biggest) shoe on the windowsill in their bedroom, the first one 13 days before Christmas. The Yule Lad coming to "town" visits all the kids and leaves a small present for them in their shoe. But only if the kids have gone to sleep early and have not behaved badly. A kid who hasn't behaved well on that particular day will find a raw potato in the shoe! 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - A Play about the Icelandic Yule Lads

Photo courtesy of the director of the play.

Although theIcelandic Yule Lads are mischievous they aren't as bad as their parents, the two terrible trolls, Grýla and Leppalúði! Grýla owns the Christmas Cat, which eats people who don't get any Christmas presents containing clothes!

Grýla is a very bad and grim ogre, and she eats badly behaved children, she comes to pick them up, puts them in her sack and then cooks them in her cauldron! 

Now, the director of the play, Ingimar Bjarni Sverrisson, was studying abroad and when he was telling his foreign friends the story about the mischievous Icelandic Yule Lads, Grýla and the Christmas Cat the reaction was, of course, that this was really messed up ;) We Icelanders grow up with these old stories, so we don't think much of them, they are just a part of our culture. So the director thought of putting up a play on these characters to introduce them to foreigners - in an entertaining manner.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - A Play about the Icelandic Yule Lads

This is a wonderful little play on the Icelandic Yule Lads in the modern world. It is so funny - we were laughing for the major part of the 45 minutes of the play :)  At the end of the play, it came as a surprise to me that there were only 3 actors! I was wondering: "Where are the others?" - as there had been so many characters in the play - kudos to them for their good acting, as they sure fooled me :) 

The play will be showing 4 times before Christmas at Bæjarbíó theatre in Hafnarfjörður town, which is part of the Great Reykjavík Area.

Unfortunately, this play is no longer running.

I have written a travel-blog on the Icelandic Yule Lads and their cave in Dimmuborgir in North-Iceland, where you can see pictures of them. And another blog of mine will show you their parents, Grýla and Leppalúði.

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