Or just cake and singing? Join in the merriments, and grab an Icelandic flag to wave, all are welcome! Bóndadagur What is Guide to Iceland? What is the ‘right’ way to do it? The tradition of culinary excess during winter continues with bolludagur – literally, bun day – which occurs two days before Lent and symbolises the feast before the fast. Traditional foods, conserved in the traditional manner, are consumed and most Icelanders attend at least one Thorrablót feast, where there is much merriment and drink. The Icelandic calendar is rich in bank holidays, boasting no less than fifteen leisurely days a year. Make sure to leave your thoughts and queries in the Facebook comments box below. Traditions vary from one household to another. Are you considering visiting during one of these public holidays? August 22: Culture Night, Reykjavík (free admission to museums, other free events) September: Réttir (sheep roundup across Iceland) September 2–6 (likely): Reykjavík Jazz Festival. There is a day in Argentina to celebrate its traditions. The first true day of summer is widely regarded as the day a migratory bird, the Golden Plover (Lóa), returns to the island to nest. Sumardagurinn fyrsti Christmas Much can be said for Christmas in Iceland, enough to fill a whole article in fact, such as this one. Read on for a complete guide to Icelandic holidays and the traditions surrounding them. Although the weather can be notoriously bad on the First Day of Summer, Icelanders still celebrate with parades led by brass bands and scouts, outdoor sporting events and live entertainment all over the country. This typical Icelandic wool sweater, with the iconic neck design, will last you … Today, the tradition still stands: in late September, a free catalog of Iceland’s newest books called the Bokatidindi hits every home’s mailbox, and Icelanders hit the bookstores. Anyone can light fireworks, and many do, resulting in one of the most magnificent and breath-taking informal firework displays you could ever hope to see. It is so safe … In recent years, this custom has reflected Iceland's often progressive attitudes towards LGBTQ rights and the Fjallakona title has been bestowed upon a trans woman as well as a drag queen. It can also be called the 'Holiday of the Merchants' as it is a day to award shopkeepers and traders a day off. It is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday when heavily salted lamb is consumed with a side serving of pea soup. How large is the landmass, and how was it formed? The origin of these Santas is centuries old, and each has a name, character, and role. More on Icelandic Christmas. In Reykjavík, bars open after Midnight and only close in the early hours of the morning. How long does a sunset or a sunrise last? Don’t get caught out and irritated if all the stores are closed (even though locals sometimes complain!). The meat dishes are typically served with side dishes such as peas, corn, cabbage, beans, gravy, jam, etc. The Kingdom of Iceland became a republic in 1944, and June 17 was chosen because it was the birthday of Jon Sigurosson, a 19th-century leader of the campaign for Iceland's independence. Fermented Shark. The occasion is marked by various fireworks displays and bonfires. Families will often plan Easter Egg hunts and children are challenged to find their chocolatey reward. Traditionally, Good Friday is lawfully delineated as a day for solemn contemplation; dancing, gambling, drinking or going to cinema used to be strictly forbidden and technically, illegal. Nearly everything is guaranteed to be closed after this time. 'Sumardagurinn fyrsti', the First Day of Summer has been a public holiday since 1971, but its history goes back further to when Icelanders used the Old Norse calendar which was divided into just two seasons: summer and winter. This bank holiday, the first Monday in August, celebrates shopkeepers and other merchants. This is washed down with a non-alcoholic Christmas drink called Christmas Ale (jólaöl) which is a mixture of an Icelandic orange soda (Appelsín) and a syrupy malted beverage (straight-forwardly called 'Malt'). A majority of the working population, as well as students and school children, can enjoy these days off in the embrace of family and friends. The challenge was to then pin the bag onto innocent passersby. Sundagarðar 2 • 104 Reykjavík, Iceland. Icelanders decorate the interior and exterior of their houses extensively, in an effort to brighten up the dark winter days and nights. Many outdated rules regarding the observance of these dates still linger in Icelandic law although they are rarely enforced. According to Icelandic folklore cows gain the power of speech for the night, and seals can take a human form. Traditionally, Icelanders were encouraged to eat to bursting point, during what would be their last proper meal before Lent. Swimming pools are usually open, and some supermarkets will have limited opening hours. Sign up for our monthly newsletter on all things Icelandic. Midsummer Night, The longest day of the year, is endowed with great mystical powers. Across the country, workplaces are closed, and people partake in festivities to celebrate; the largest party, however, is in Reykjavík. During the summertime, Icelandic sheep are left to graze freely in the mountains and valleys, but in September the farmers go out on their horses, accompanied by their sheep dogs to find them and bring them home. Although the weather in April is typically far from summery, the days are becoming longer, and the locals are enthusiastic to put winter behind them. Most Icelandic children in their 14th year are confirmed during the Easter period. Another free day for schools and offices, Easter Monday does not entail the same religious militancy as Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Where did they come from? 32p per 1 unit As seen on TV. Numerous outdoor festivals take place around the country, and many people leave the capital area for a weekend at their summerhouses or camping. New Year's Bonfires (Áramótabrennur) are lit all over the country and, following an age-old tradition of burning away the old year to welcome the new. On this day, which usually falls in late January, women give gifts to any significant men in their lives, and often feed them traditional food, related to the Thorri festivites. The first of these marches, however, took place all the way back in 1932 to protest the number of working hours in a week. November 16, 2010. This is not a day for Icelanders to hone their humour but rather, Whit Sunday, also known as 'Pentecost Monday' is once again a Christian holiday, and it occurs 10-days after Ascension Day. The day is the birthday of the country’s independence hero, Jón Sigurdsson. Many public holidays are steeped in unique celebratory traditions, and the shared practice of these customs creates a strong feeling of community. It is not an official holiday. Beautifully decorated with a toy chick and fake flowers, Icelandic Easter eggs are packed full of candy on the inside as well as delicious chocolate on the outside. A large number of 13-14-year-olds go through civil or religious confirmation at this time, a common rite of passage for adolescents in Iceland. Events take place mostly in Reykjavik, with some dating back to Viking times. I think Reykjavik is a beautiful city all year long, but Christmas time, that is when this little city really shines. While the majority of the traditional ways to celebrate a birthday (e.g. Since fresh shark is poisonous, in order to eat it, you first have to bury it in the … As in countries the world over, May Day in Iceland is a day for general protest. 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