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Today is Maundy Thursday

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Today is Maundy Thursday

Daffodils

Photo: Páll Kjartansson.

Today is the first day in Iceland’s mammoth five-day Easter weekend. It is a public holiday and many businesses are closed.

Maundy Thursday is called Skírdagur in Icelandic.

In Lutheran Christianity, along with most other Protestant and Catholic sects, today marks the fabled Last Supper, before Jesus’s crucifixion on the cross tomorrow; Good Friday.

The five-day-long weekend is a good excuse to travel cross-country, and many Icelanders visit distant friends and family, or take advantage of the Easter festivals, including Ski Week and the Aldrei fór ég suður music festival—both held in Ísafjörður.

Easter is Christianity’s most important festival, and some will visit churches to mark Maundy Thursday, though most people in Iceland will stay home and relax.

By law, Good Friday (tomorrow) is a dry day—a day of mourning for Jesus and humanity—and therefore many, if not all, bars will close at midnight tonight and reopen 24 hours later. The state-run liquor store is also closed all weekend, with the exception of Saturday.

Today is a popular choice of day for confirmation ceremonies, which most Icelandic teenagers go through at the age of 13 or 14.

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