The Yule Lads, or Yulemen, (Icelandic: jólasveinarnir or jólasveinar) are characters from Icelandic folklore who in modern times have become the Icelandic version of Santa Claus. There are thirteen of these characters. They put rewards or punishments into shoes placed by children in window sills during the last thirteen nights before Christmas Eve. Every night, one Yuletide lad visits each child, leaving gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on the child’s behavior throughout the year.
The Yule Lads are traditionally said to be the sons of the mountain-dwelling trolls Grýla and Leppalúði. They would trek from the mountains to scare Icelandic children who misbehaved before Christmas. Additionally, the Yule Lads are often depicted with the Yule Cat, a beast that, according to folklore, eats children who don’t receive new clothes for Christmas.
Icelandic Name: Leppalúði
Description: Father of the Yule Lads.
In mid-August 2014, Iceland’s second highest mountain, Bárðarbunga, awoke from its slumber. A stratovolcano located under Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest ice cap, Bárðarbunga, is part of a vast volcanic system that covers much of the entre of the island. After a few dramatic days of intense seismic activity, an eruption started in the Holuhraun lava field north of Bárðarbunga. At 4 a.m. on August 31st, the magma found its way to the surface. By the time this book was sent to print, the Holuhraun lava eruption had already become one of the largest witnessed in Iceland since the 19th century and showing no sign of abating.
Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson is one of Iceland’s most experienced photographers. He has closely followed these events from both the air and ground from the very beginning.
Breathtaking photographs from the lava eruption in Holuhraun 2014.
Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson brings you closer to these magnificent events in central Iceland, where the forces of nature continue to shape the island.