Many Icelanders feel that Christmas celebrations mainly revolve around family - and food. Which Traditional Festivals Should You See in Spain? The first jólasveinn arrives 13 days before Christmas and then the others follow, one each day. Time-honored classic traditions include the Christmas mass, the lighted window, and the decorations. Where to begin? Icelandic christmas traditions New Year in Iceland. This obnoxious feline is know as the Christmas Cat. Traditions vary from one household to another. Find out all about Icelandic Christmas traditions here. In fact, in the 18th century, parents in Iceland were officially prohibited from tormenting children with scary stories about the yule lads. Christmas traditions include a variety of customs, religious practices, rituals, and folklore associated with the celebration of Christmas.Many of these traditions vary by country or region, while others are universal and practiced in a virtually ubiquitous manner across the world.. Around Late February early March each year Icelanders celebrate Bolludagur (Bun Day), Sprengidagur (Shrove Tuesday) and Oskudagur (Ash Wednesday). Some of the more modern traditions are a bit more diverse, but fun. For locals, Christmas in Iceland is a most welcome reprieve from the perennial dark. Some people meet up with their extended families on Christmas Day - and some will meet one side of the family on Christmas Day and the other on Boxing Day. A special Icelandic custom for children is to put a shoe in the window from December 12 until Christmas Eve. Here are 13 Icelandic Christmas facts and traditions. In Iceland, you don’t just get a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas. The Yule Lads are thirteen pranksters whose antics range from swiping yogurt to slamming doors in the middle of the night to wake people up. There are so many books published before Christmas in Iceland, that it's called a Christmas Book Flood. Although Christmas celebrations sort of begin on the first Sunday in Advent, or the 1st of December - or even on the 11th of December when first Santa comes to town - then they really are in full swing by the 23rd of December. The first Santa Claus, or Yule Lad, arrives 13 days before Christmas. The main Christmas celebration takes place on Christmas Eve, including the gift exchange. On Boxing Day however, the entire family on my dad's side will meet up, around 50 people in total, and we'll cook dinner together and play games. One Santa Claus arrives every day until Christmas Eve, then one by one returns home, until Christmas is officially over on the 6th of January (when people celebrate the end of Christmas, the 13th of Christmas, with bonfires around town). Boxing Day is also known to be a good day to go out partying downtown, after midnight. This is when elves and trolls come out and celebrate with the Icelanders, dancing and singing. For those of you in the United States, I envy your version of Santa Claus. This is when many families starting their preparation for the Christmas festivities. As a result, Icelandic cemeteries are beautifully lit up during the Christmas Holidays. He seems like a really amicable man, who genuinely wants you to enjoy your holidays. But if it's partying you're after, then be sure to stick around for New Year's Eve! Every country has its own sets of Christmas traditions and Iceland, of course, has its own. Christmas Tree Traditions. First of all, "Merry Christmas and a happy New Year" in Icelandic means "Gleðileg jól og farsælt komandi ár!". After Christmas, they leave one by one. You can even send Santa mail by using his very own mailbox. This day is called Thorlak's Mass - or Þorláksmessa. This year we made an exceptionally large recipe and ended up with 250 cookies! Each one is a little naughty, and they like to slam doors (Doorslammer), steal candles (Candlesnatcher), peek through windows (Windowpeeker) and steal sausages (Sausagefetcher) for example. An enormous black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this simple rule. You should hope that the Yule Lads give you at least one pair of socks before Christmas, because if you don't get any new clothes, you'll get eaten by the Christmas Cat! That is to say, on the night of the 11th of December. There are also several Christmas markets to be found within town, many of which offer free concerts as well. At 6:00 pm Church bells ring to start the Christmas celebration. Whoever gets the almond wins a price, but you can't show the almond until the pudding is finished. Book your complete trip with the best companies only, Iceland is spectacular in so many ways and Icelandic nature is quite unique with its vast landscape,  volcanic activity, geothermal areas, glacier lagoons and sceneries, black sand beaches and spect, People have been asking me where to find lupines in Iceland. Thorláksmessa (mass-day of St Þorlákur) is celebrated on December 23. According to legends, the Christmas or Yule Cat is a monstrously huge black cat that only appears at Christmas Eve, when little children are sound asleep, dreaming of the glitter of the Christmas Tree and what marvellous gifts lie under it. The locals … So in the beginning the holiday revolved around celebrating the winter solstice … When the clock strikes at 18:00, that's when Icelanders ring in Christmas. As in every country celebrating Christmas, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Because of the COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic, many of the ways that Christmas is celebrated might be different this year. Personally, this is my favourite evening of all of Christmas. Are you spending Christmas in Iceland? Expect no fewer than 13 Icelandic Santa Clauses. December has arrived, along with record breaking amounts of snow, turning Reykjavik into a winter wonderland. Iceland isn't a very religious country but we love the traditions and have a ton of them and many of them are easy for you to join in on over this merry time! And those hosting a Skate dinner will open up all windows to get the stench out before Christmas Eve. In Iceland the traditional Christmas meal is roast lamb. Many Icelanders feel that Christmas doesn't truly come until you've had a Skate dinner. Traditionally, one candle is lit each Sunday until four candles are lit on the 24th. First comes a hearty Christmas meal (smoked lamb, fermented and pickled fish, all washed down with a questionable cocktail of malt beer and orange soda), followed by Christmas mass at 6 p.m. sharp and then, of course, the books.. Before 18:00, most of the day is spent delivering presents (perhaps even wrapping some last minute), bathing, cooking, laying the table, welcoming family over, nibbling on chocolates and sweets - kids often watching a film while the grown-ups get the dinner ready. What is Þorláksmessa all about? On New Year's Eve, many people attend community bonfires and exchange visits. Downtown Reykjavík is filled with hustle and bustle, people donning their best coats, rushing to buy a loved one the last gift - but also taking the time to meet up with friends and family for a drink or two at one of the city's many bars. It is celebrated with bonfires (lit by children with candles) around which Icelanders gather and sing traditional songs, as well as with fireworks. After presents have been opened, some people choose to go to the midnight Mass in their local church, while others stay at home - perhaps enjoying some of their new presents. Finally, there are all the Christmas buffets around town, when several restaurants and hotels offer a decadent buffet of all sorts of Icelandic traditional Christmas food, including for example smoked lamb, gravlax, smoked salmon, herring, leaf bread, rye bread, turkey, goose, ptarmigan, reindeer or other exquisite delicacies. To all my fellow Christmas lovers out there take note, a trip to Reykjavik in December, it is the best place to … No surprise here, considering that Iceland has nearly three times more sheep than people. Perhaps the most known one is Jólagestir Björgvins, where some of the country's finest musicians all come together in one spectacular show with multiple singers, choirs and talented instrumentalists in Harpa Concert Hall in central Reykjavík. Perhaps the most traditional Icelandic things to bake are 'Sara' or cutting out and frying 'laufabrauð' (e. Leaf Bread). What do Icelanders Bake Before Christmas? You also get a visit from a total of 13 Yule Lads (Jólasveinar) in the nights leading up to Christmas (Jólin). The Icelandic Christmas season lasts 26 days. Like in Finland, cemeteries are often lit up and … Image – Promote Iceland This gets underway 13 days before Christmas, when the Icelandic Yule Lads, who live in the mountains, start coming to town, one per night. So it's safe to say that the whole month of December is taken over with festive spirits in Iceland. One of the most tenacious Christmas traditions of the Advent is the Christmas buffet. Of course, preparations vary from one household to another, and people celebrate differently - so excuse me for any generalisations! Come morning – presto! The epiphany (or Þrettándinn in Icelandic) on January 6 is the last hurrah of the holidays in Iceland. Christmas Celebrations on the 23rd of December- Thorlak's Mass | Þorláksmessa, Christmas Celebrations on the 24th of December- Christmas Eve | Aðfangadagur, Christmas Celebrations on the 25th & 26th of December- Christmas Day & Boxing Day | Jóladagur & Annar í jólum, Travel Voucher to Iceland | Best Christmas Gift Ever, The Icelandic Yule Lads Live at Dimmuborgir in North Iceland, Cafés in Reykjavík | A Guide to Icelandic Coffee Culture, The World's Most Disgusting (Icelandic) Food. This is the main day. 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During this time there are a few common traditions that most people adhere to, so I'll go over the main ones. Christmas in Iceland (Jól) starts four Weeks before proper Christmas, which begins on December 24 (Aðfangadagur) and ends thirteen days later on January 6 (Epiphany).. Icelandic Christmas traditions are downright terrifying! Christmas Traditions in Iceland and The Yule Lads – 13 Naughty Santa Clauses. As the host of the All Things Iceland podcast, she shares about Icelandic culture, history, language and nature. Candles are a must on advent It does make for much better shows of Northern Lights and fireworks, though. That means that the 23rd of December takes over as Christmas Eve - the last night before Christmas when everyone is buying their last present, and having a few drinks with their friends. If they have been good, one of the 13 yule lads leaves a gift—bad children receive a potato or a note from one of the yule lads, explaining an incident of naughty behavior or warning them to do better the next year. Most people start preparing and celebrating on the first day of Advent, 4 Sundays before Christmas Eve. Jewells Chambers. On Christmas Day and Boxing Day Icelanders tend to either meet up with extended families for a family party, or relax and do hardly anything at all. Each and every dish comes prepared using unique local recipes that will most definitely delight your senses. If you like them you should be able to find them easily in Iceland in summer. They are in bloom and visible almost wherever you drive aro, On my search for turf houses around Iceland, I visited Sænautasel hypothetical turf house on Jökuldalsheiði heath in the highland of Iceland. It is, in my opinion, an extremely cute turf house, buil, Discover the waterfall Gljúfrabúi The great thing about travelling around Iceland are all the different and unique spots and areas you can discover when driving around.  You don't need to go f, The best time to capture the sunset at Kirkjufell mountain would be from the beginning of july and until the end of august. Most restaurants and hotels offer Christmas buffets during the weekends, where one will find dozens of gourmet dishes including different types of … 'Sara' is the name of meringue/macaroon based, chocolate-cream filled and chocolate coated sweets that are commonly baked in many households, but also available in almost all bakeries and cafés in town. Before they go to sleep, kids take one of their best shoes and leave near an open window. There may still be some Skate stench in the air, so if you smell something funny - the Skate is a likely culprit! Picture by Dísukökur. Back in the days the winter in Iceland was usually very long and cold especially when there were only few hours of daylight each day. When it's fried it has a similar texture to an Indian papadum and is consumed with butter - normally as one of the side dishes with smoked lamb during the holiday season. 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