Y ou thought you had a pretty good idea about how weird those islanders calling Iceland their home can be. Rotten shark a daily staple, roll around naked in nature on Midsummer´s night, see elves and trolls in any old rock apart from still speaking a language unchanged from the last ice age.
Ah, but you were wrong. This place is even more weird.
Weird may well come into your head if you wander around Reykjavik city or any town or village in the country in late December. It starts when you admire the architecture whilst strolling leisurely. You notice a lone shoe in one window and think some looney old hippie must consider this a fine piece of window dressing. But then you see the same thing in the next building, and the next, and the next. In fact, there is a shoe in the window of 70% of all homes everywhere!!!
Is this some local shoe fetish or a brand new local trend? Why on earth would anyone put a shoe or even a whole boot in their window?
Ugly bastards for sure but quite attractive compared to their mother
The answer has to do with the thirteen guys you see on the pic. Those are the thirteen “Santa´s” of Iceland. They live with their troll father and their troll mother in a secret place in the mountains and only show up thirteen days before Christmas and then only one by one. Ugly bastards for sure but quite attractive compared to their mother and father both of whom are reputed to eat children regularly.
But those Santa´s or Yule-Lads as they saying goes, are genuinely good it seems. Each one visits every home of children in this country and if they have behaved and have remembered to put a shoe in their window they will be awarded. Even bad children are awarded too but not with candy or toys but with a potato.
That´s quite attractive to kids to find some treat in their shoe every morning for thirteen days before Christmas. A lot more attractive than getting but one visit from the North Pole guy on his reindeer pulled wagon.