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Iceland Mag

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Door Slammer, a "sorry vulgar chap", 7th of 13 Yule Lads came to town today

By Staff

  • Door Slammer Each Yule Lad is named after the particular prank they play on people. Door Slammer goes around slamming people's doors! Photo/Halldór Bjarnason

The Yule lads are examples of the dark spirits of nature which take over during the winter. As people retreat indoors the supernatural reclaims the land. Outlying mountain and heath cabins which were occupied during the summer were abandoned in the fall, and as the darkness of winter descended people retreated to the main farm where the entire family and hired hands would huddle together while the winter storms raged.

Read more: Instead of a friendly Santa Iceland has 13 mischievous Yule lads and an evil Christmas Cat

Dark winter spirits reclaim the land
During the darkest days of winter the trolls, spirits and supernatural creatures then take over the landscape. One by one the Yule lads come down from the mountains, until the entire crowd of trolls has descended upon the farms and towns on Christmas Eve: Nature and its uncontrollable spirits have reclaimed the land. 

Then one by one they retreat back to the mountains just as darkness retreats and the days get longer.

A reminder to secure all doors
The characteristics of the Yule lads, which appear in names like Sausage Swiper, Meat Hook, Skyr Gobbler, offer another hint to their origin as reminders that people must take care of scarce foods during winter. Sausages, smoked legs of lamb, skyr and milk can disappear mysteriously if they aren’t kept under close surveillance!

The seventh Yule lad reminded people to secure all doors. This is how the "sorry, vulgar chap" is described in the 1932 Yule Lad poem by the Icelandic poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum:

The seventh was Door Slammer,
a sorry, vulgar chap:
When people in the twilight
would take a little nap,
he was happy as a lark
with the havoc he could wreak,
slamming doors and hearing
the hinges on them squeak.

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