New Year’s Eve in Iceland. From 2011 to 2012. Photos

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New Year’s Eve in Iceland. From 2011 to 2012. Photos

Many Icelanders use the day for motion. For some it is slow motion, for others faster. Around 600 people took part in the annual New Year’s Eve 10K run of IR, Reykjavík Sports Club. Most people just took a stroll or read a book.

Around seven the evening meal starts. Turkey is becoming more popular nowadays; people have had enough red meat. Since the meat is lighter people eat more of it, so noting is gained but weight.

At eight o’clock the Prime Minister gives her yearly New Year’s Eve speech. Most people don’t notice unless they are extremely interested in politics. And even so, usually the Prime ministers don’t say much anyway. They tell us how well the country did, despite extremely difficult circumstances and that tightening the belt will finally pay off. Then they usually read a poem by their favorite poet. 

After dinner, families with young children stroll out to the nearest bon fire. Sometimes you will find friends there, but it is rather difficult to recognize any in the dark.

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Back home, shoot a few fireworks. The most popular ones are called cakes. They shoot up ten, fifty or five hundred balls of fire. You save the biggest until midnight.


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At ten thirty everyone goes in for the Áramótaskaup, a parody of the year. It goes for an hour and sometimes you laugh, especially if the joke is on your political opponents. Then we discuss whether it was as good as last year. It never is.

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90% of the people watch the Áramótaskaup. Funny or not.

The final countdown to midnight consists of all the biggest fireworks you can find in your arsenal. A typical family might spent anywhere from ten to sixty thousand ISK (about 100 to 500 USD, 70 to 400 €) on fireworks.


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Photos: Benedikt Jóhannesson/Iceland Review

Then it is: Happy New Year. All hug and are happy for the first few minutes in 2012.

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