Julanders (Får e’ ikkj’ kørs og kak’ ska’ e’ aljlj ungan tak)

“On Jul-Anders Night, November 30th, young men in Beiarn walked around in animal skins and leather clothes, wore bells and masks – often with horns. They came out in the dark with the sound of the bells, hit the walls with their heavy rods, and demanded to enter the house.  If they did not get any meat, they would take kids with them in the bag. Sometimes they actually took kids.Their journey was a horror for little children.”

This diorama marks the beginning of my new series, in which I will be taking inspiration from my own background. Traditions, myths and tales from Northern Norway and Østerdalen, as well as memories from my childhood and stories told by older generations.

The Kitchen

What inspired me to make this scene, was my fathers stories about his experiences with Jul-Anders when he was a little kid growing up in Beiarn.

They made a huge impression on me when I was little.

I decided to build a replica of the kitchen in his childhood home, the way it looked in 1950.

Jul-Anders was completed in 2021.

The Family

The Jul-Anders characters

It was young, grown men who went Jul-Anders. The suit should have an animal feel, skins from wild or domestic animals. They often had a cows tail attached to the suit. The mask was made of leather and was to be as grotesque as possible, with fangs and horns, and with blood stains. The horns  were filled with blood, or another red-colored liquid, and could “accidentally” leak.

There is reason to believe that there is a connection between Jul-Anders and Catholic times in Norway. But some of the content of the custom is also reminiscent of pagan times with the abduction of children as an important element.

Odd Arild and Arne

Knitting sweaters and socks on tiny needles.


Sculpting a coffee grinder.

A pack of Sun-Maid raisins made from cardboard.

A coffee-pot in the good old style, and a replica of the dinner-plates my grandparents used.

The Newspaper

I really wanted it to be a replica of the local Bodø-paper Nordlandsposten from November 30th 1950. This miniature one is inspired by that issue of NP, I made a collage, using bits and pieces from old newspapers.

The Meat

Since it is so important for the story, I had to give the meat a lot of attention in this scene. There are some pieces boiling, and some are being served. I strived  to make them look very red, raw, bloody, yet sort of cooked. I used polymer clay to sculpt them, then painted them and gave them a tiny bit of blood effect.  I used Gedeo Crystal resin to make the boiling water.

A folding-table made from an old crayon-box

From beginning to end


Watercolor I made as inspiration for Jul-Anders

A lot of my research was based on reading the articles in the Beiarn yearbooks, with good descriptions of the masks and outfits of these men.

Great sources of information for this project are Odd Eiring and Inge Strand.

Jul-Anders mask from 1940

Vintage photo of a Jul-Anders.
From Årbok for Beiarn


The Jul-Anders rhyme