A lot of people were present yesterday when the lights were lit on the Yulecat, in Lækjartorg (downtown Reykjavík), including the mayor of Reykjavík Dagur B.Eggertsson. The lights were lit on the Yulecat yesterday. The musical trio Zimsen sang a few Christmas songs and Grýla and Leppalúði, the parents of the 13 yulelads in Iceland, also turned up. The yulecat is about 5m tall and 6m and it takes 6.500 led light bulbs to light it up: it will stay in Lækjartorg until after the New Year. This tradition, among others, marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Iceland: the yulelads, however, are a far cry from the friendly Santa Claus who brings children gifts during the holiday season, as they are rather 13 mischievous pranksters who come from the mountains to people’s residences, usually to try to steal something. The story of the yulelads stems from the 17th Century, and in later years the yulelads have taken on a more benevolent image. The first one, Stekkjarstaur, comes on the evening of the 12th of December and then one by one they arrive, one each day, until Christmas. Children in Iceland leave a shoe in the window from the 12th onwards, hoping to get a gift from the yulelads: they usually leave something, unless the child has behaved badly, in which case they might leave just a raw potato in the shoe. On the other hand, the parents of the Yulelads, Grýla and Leppalúði, are actually something to be scared of: Grýla in particular is described as a foul looking troll who can spot a misbehaving child a mile away and she might come and eat him. The same goes for the yulecat: according to the legend, if you got no gifts of some kind of clothing, mittens, a scarf or a sweater, you would be eaten by the yulecat. Read more on Icelandicmonitor.Mbl.is