Reykjavík
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tradition

Fireworks Reykjavík

New Year Welcomed with a Blast

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.

Smoked Pork Still Popular at Christmas

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.

Christmas in Reykjavík.

Travel Tips for Tourists at Christmas

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.

Laufabrauð

Party with the Extended Family

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.

Mowing the lawn in a blizzard.

Video: Icelanders Mow Snow-Covered Lawn

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.

Saltkjöt og baunir

Today Is ‘Bursting Day’ in Iceland

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.

Cream puff

Cream Puff Day in Iceland

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.

Shark meat

Husband’s Day Celebrated in Iceland

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.

New Year's Eve in Reykjavík

Icelanders Bid Farewell to Christmas

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.

Bonfire New Year's Eve Reykjavík

Bonfires Prepared for New Year’s Eve

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.

The Christmas tree in downtown Reykjavík

The Day of Relaxation

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.

Christmas in Reykjavík.

Smoked Pork and Christmas Presents

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.

Stinking Skate and Shopping Fury

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.

Traditional Icelandic food

Winter Solstice Celebrated in Iceland

The longest night of the year was last night, the winter solstice beginning at nightfall yesterday, at 3:30 pm in Reykjavík, and ending at sunrise at 11:23 am today. Ásatrúarfélagið, followers of the old Norse religion, will celebrate the event tonight.