The building and repair of oak ships is a dying art in Iceland.
The first of 13 “Yule Lads” travelled across Iceland last night filling good children’s shoes with gifts.
As most people stay up late on New Year’s Eve in Iceland, people tend to sleep in on January 1. But in the evening it’s time to celebrate the first day of the New Year.
Icelanders celebrate the last day of the year with a fancy dinner, often turkey, and with fireworks at midnight. A special sketch comedy show about the year in review is shown on television and watched by almost the entire Icelandic nation.
Approximately 38 percent of Icelanders intended to send holiday cards to their friends and family members before Christmas this year, compared to almost 47 percent in 2015, as stated in a new MMR survey.
In almost 50 percent of Icelandic homes (46.4 percent to be exact), a smoked rack of pork was served for dinner on Christmas Eve. The tradition—which is fairly new and under Danish influence—remains popular, although the ratio has dropped from 49.8 percent from last year.
At this time of year, most Icelanders are busy enjoying the holidays with their friends and families, inviting each other to dinner and snuggling up with a blanket on the couch, watching a Christmas classic. Meanwhile, tourists wander the empty streets looking for things to do.
Christmas Day in Iceland is usually celebrated with a luncheon with the extended family. The traditional meal is hangikjöt (smoked lamb) with laufabraud (‘leaf bread’) and a sweet béchamel sauce.
On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was formally established and Iceland became independent after being under Danish rule. The day has been celebrated as the Icelandic National Day ever since.
Friends Jóhann Konráð Birgisson and Finnbogi Helgi Snæbjörnsson shot a video of themselves mowing the lawn of their summer house in Grenivík, North Iceland, on the occasion of the First Day of Summer—despite the lawn being covered in snow.
On Easter Sunday, Páskadagur (‘Easter Day’), people in Iceland often have roast meat for dinner, often lamb, and enjoy chocolate Easter eggs.
With still six weeks to go before Easter, the first chocolate Easter eggs will appear on shelves in stores around Iceland today.
Today, children dress up in fancy costumes and visit shops and companies where they sing in exchange for candy.
Traditional Icelandic saltkjöt og baunir, salted meat and bean stew, is eaten in Iceland today to celebrate Sprengidagur (‘Bursting Day’), which is Iceland’s answer to Shrove Tuesday. The motto is to eat stew until you burst.
Today is Bolludagur, or ‘Cream Puff Day,’ in Iceland. Bakers were busy making cream puffs over the weekend, because today Icelanders are expected to consume over one million of the sweet creamy buns.
Today is Bóndadagur, or Husband’s Day, when wives and girlfriends in Iceland pamper their men. Bóndadagur also marks the beginning of the old Icelandic month of Þorri, during which Þorrablót mid-winter feasts are held across the country.
Over 98 percent of Icelanders give presents at Christmastime, have Christmas trees and decorate their homes, according to the latest Gallup poll on the habits of Icelanders at Christmastime.
Vanessa Williams-Grey, anti-whaling campaigner at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, has criticized Icelandic brewery Steðji for producing a beer made with fin whale testicles smoked with dried sheep dung.
January 6 is known as Þrettándinn or ‘the Thirteenth’ in Iceland. According to the Icelandic calendar, it marks the 13th and last day of Christmas—the first being Christmas Day—and also the day when the last of the 13 Yule Lad brothers returns to his cave.
Sixteen bonfires are being prepared for New Year’s Eve in Iceland’s capital region, of which ten will be in Reykjavík. The largest will be at Gufunes in Grafarvogur, Geirsnef by the mouth of Elliðaár river, Ægisíða in Vesturbær and Rauðavatn in Norðlingaholt.
Today is Annar í jólum, or the ‘Second Day of Christmas.’ in Iceland After eating to excess on December 24 and 25, many families have leftovers for lunch, enjoy their gifts and relax on December 26.
Tonight is Christmas Eve. Christmas in Iceland officially begins when the bells of the Reykjavík Cathedral chime at 6 pm. By then families have gathered around the dinner table and afterwards they open presents and Christmas cards.
Today is the last day before Christmas, known as Þorláksmessa (‘The Mass of St. Þorlákur,’ Iceland’s patron saint). The day is celebrated by eating skata, putrefied (or fermented) skate and buying the last Christmas presents.