More... Many restaurants specialise in seafood due to Iceland being surrounded by an ocean abundant with all manner of fish and shellfish. Before you get up in arms and grab your pitchforks about our parenting practices, you should know there is a method to the madness. This holiday is dedicated to Iceland’s seamen and is celebrated on the first Sunday in June with displays of fish and fun and games for the kids in most communities around the country. I am always knocking on wood, but that is because I am a superstitious person. Individuals looking forward to a visit of Iceland you should know some history about its culture and traditions. If you are driving, remember that every lamb and horse not to mention people has more rights to be on the road than you and your car. Icelandic culture remains rich and varied, with friendly people, intriguing traditions, fun festivals, and fascinating food. They have amusing names like Stubby, Gully Gawk, Pot Licker, Door Slammer, etc. Most Icelandic children in their 14th year are confirmed during the Easter period. St Patrick’s Day Traditions. Iceland was founded more than 1,000 years ago during the Viking age of exploration and settled by a mixed Norse and Celtic population. Statistics show that 1 out of 10 Icelanders will publish a book in their lifetime. You should pack a bathing suit before you make your way to Iceland. We love visitors, and we want you to enjoy our country as much as we do. Roughly coinciding with mid-January to mid-February in the modern calendar, the ancient month of Thorri is the time for Thorrablót, or Thorri feast. Iceland’s Culture, Traditions, and Customs, Ferry to Iceland: A Different Way of Traveling, Iceland’s Best Luxury Hotels – Exclusive Accommodation, The Ancient Stories Written in The Iceland Viking Sagas, Basic Phrases In Icelandic For First Timers – Let’s Have A…, Sunshine and Daylight Hours in Iceland Per Month, Climate in Iceland: Temperature and Average Monthly Precipitation, Iceland’s Sky Lagoon – The Ultimate Experience, Your Iceland Honeymoon: An Amazing Experience, Hunting Dragons in Iceland – Lake Lagarfljót and Beyond, Explore Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park’s Lesser-Known Gems, Norse Mythology: The Stories Behind the Icelandic Nature, Iceland Museums: Viking Adventures and More. If you’re heading to our little Nordic island, we thought we’d give you a quick insight into more of our culture and customs. We are a well-read and inquisitive group of people. Okay, I am joking, but Santa is very different here in Iceland. The cultural aspects, traditions, and customs laid out above are a small-scale representation of what makes Iceland, well, Iceland. Numerous outdoor festivals take place around the country, and many people leave the capital area for a weekend at their summerhouses or camping. By knowing the customs, you will have a better experience on your trip, and you will understand us a little better! Language and Communication Style Icelandic literature traces its beginnings back to the 13th century, when sagas were written in the Old Norse language. I would highly recommend that you investigate further, especially if you are coming here for an extended period. Verslunarmannahelgi In Iceland, you must wash yourself before you get into a pool or hot pot. Bakeries and home chefs prepare sweet cream puffs filled with cream and jam and drizzled with chocolate. Iceland's … It is not an official holiday. In Iceland, we have many traditions that go back almost a millennium. Most of Iceland’s traditional cookie and cake recipes come from Denmark. People travel from the far stretches of the globe to visit the Emerald Isle and enjoy trad music – one of the most thrilling traditions in Ireland. The Reykjavík area has several professional theaters, a symphony orchestra, an opera and many art galleries, bookstores, cinemas and museums. He seems like a really amicable man, who genuinely wants you to enjoy your holidays. 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. Outside can mean parks, stoops, or wherever we park them. Women’s Day is celebrated the day after Þorri ends. As per Iceland culture and tradition, people have mid-winter feasts with traditional foods such as dried fish, fermented shark meat, and liver pudding during this month. Over the millennium that they have existed, Icelandic people, isolated on a faraway polar isle, have created a fascinating and storied culture. Icelandic Traditions, Customs & Habits That You Might Find Strange Thorrablot – the festival of ram testicles, shark & hard liquor. Reykjavik has always been the hotbed of Iceland’s subversive creativity renowned for its vibrant, energetic character. They are equal parts funny and slightly confusing. Surely a treacherous time agical things are said to take place on this evening, including rumours that cows can speak! Not only must you wash thoroughly, but you must also shower naked (this is the standard for most locations, but the rules vary). I am sure just reading it on paper is has given you pause to try to re-read the previous sentence twice. These are … Culture Along with the Icelandic language, Iceland’s culture is strongly rooted in Norse traditions, expressed in the still-popular Sagas and ancient literature. 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. Bóndadagur Visitors will find Iceland is a classless society with a strong literary tradition. It is during the holidays that you can experience the small-island spirit of Iceland, and if you’re informed as to what’s happening, you can be a part of it! Twelfth Night While our culture is open and affable, we also have a plethora of rich and fascinating traditions. Icelandic culture is packed with fascinating traditions. Dagur Íslenskrar tungu However, knocking on wood is but one level of protection you can offer yourself against tempting fate in Iceland. The sheer isolation of the country from its European neighbors has protected its culture from outside influences and preserved its language as a direct descendent of Old Norse. Hot pots and pools dominate the cultural sphere here in Iceland. A cake-filled marathon until we meet our untimely demise?! History. According to Icelandic folklore cows gain the power of speech for the night, and seals can take a human form. One of the strangest things for visitors to our small island to get over is that it isn’t rare for us to leave our youngest children outside while we go inside and enjoy a glass of Skyr Drykkur (one of our tastier drinks). Eventually, we left our Nordic religion and converted to Christianity. From the ancient sagas to award-winning films, Icelanders are a generally writing, acting, composing, designing, painting, sculpting, and all-round creating bunch. Sjómannadagur It is similar to buying the extra insurance package on your rental car, except it’s free and there isn’t a mountain of paperwork! Recipes of meat in Iceland may be low in numbers but the ones that do exist can dazzle an eater with its taste and presentation. There are no family names. So don’t worry, we don’t want to see you naked! You have entered an incorrect email address! A religious holiday in Iceland and marked by the giving and receiving of large chocolate eggs filled with sweets. Funny enough, some Danish baking traditions are still practiced in Iceland but have died out in Denmark. The early settlement, made up primarily of Norwegian seafarers and adventurers, fostered further excursions to Greenland and the coast of … Icelandic has been said to be virtually unaltered since medieval times, although many Icelanders disagree. However, it is who we are as a people. The challenge was to then pin the bag onto innocent passersby. Before any trip, you should become accustomed to some aspects of the country you are visiting (its just good practice). This applies to belongings, but it also applies to our children! The mainstays of Icelandic cuisine are fresh, locally sourced lamb and fish dishes. Folklore that has inspired fantasy franchises, such as the Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and the Elder Scrolls, originated in Iceland; the nation’s intrinsic value for literacy has created some the world’s greatest writers for centuries; and the country is becoming as … The Icelandic Over the Top 3-Day Food Fest. Jónsmessa What people eat in Iceland though is becoming internationally famous now. In First Day of Summer is celebrated in Iceland with a holiday on the third Thursday in April. Konudagur The first written cookbooks in Iceland were published in the 18th century and were a collection of Danish recipes. Below I will outline some integral and fascinating facets of Iceland’s culture, traditions, and customs. Iceland was originally colonized by Erik the Red in 982. Traditions. Traditionally, the weather is anything but summery. Grab your trunks, jump in, and relax. The month of Thorri comes to an end with 'wife's day', a day to celebrate women. The coastline is 6,000 km long; the distance between the North and South coasts is cca. Sprengidagur Check out our articles for travel tips and inspiration for your trip to Iceland. Summarizing an entire’s country’s identity in one blog post is nearly impossible to do. Icelandic culture is often quirky and fun, and very interesting (in our humble opinion). The island is almost entirely free of crime, especially violent crime. Campervan Iceland: Ranking Top 5 Campervan Rental Companies in Iceland. The people visiting Iceland tell us that what they fall in love with is the Icelandic way of life. We have 13 different Santas called Yule Lads who are all very mischievous, and they leave treats in the children’s shoes. Icelandic works represent a large section of the Old Norse literature Sagas or stories often focus on Nordic and Germanic history, Viking invasions and voyages, and ancient battles. For me, it is just an excuse to eat as many pastries as humanly possible, and isn’t dessert what life is really about? There are national holidays on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday. Each year, Icelanders are involved in numerous celebrations and traditions which make this captivating country even more special. 23 December is St. Þorlákur's Day, when Icelanders eat putrefied skate to symbolise what was traditionally the end of the Christmas fast. More on Icelandic Christmas. So even on a short city break, we can help you to experience the authentic heart of Iceland. Iceland’s unique nature, closely-knit population, and enterprising spirit have all contributed to a dynamic, original cultural scene. Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. Welcome! Parenting has never been more stressful than on this day. Our humor can be off-putting for those unaccustomed to it. Icelanders have several unique holidays and celebrate the more common ones in special ways. While most of them have evolved to mark the changing seasons and celebrate the work of farmers and seafarers, others derive from Christian customs that originally came from other countries. Many public holidays are steeped in unique celebratory traditions, and the shared practice of these customs creates a strong feeling of community. Shops are also open very late for the many who leave their Christmas buying frenzy until the last minute. For each smack, they receive a bun. No one wants a screaming baby inside while they try to enjoy their Bleikja (Arctic Char, full of healthy vitamins), so we leave them outside. On this holiday, children get involved and make little wands at school and then return home to smack their parents with their batons (very strange to uninitiated, I know). About two weeks before Christmas, children leave their shoes in their windowsills, and they awake to find treats in gifts in their shoes. Due to the high level of education, we have many, many authors. The shortest distances to Iceland’s nearest neighbors are about 280 … Christmas is celebrated on 24 December promptly at 6pm in the evening. Most Icelanders buy their own fireworks and set them off at midnight to welcome in the New Year. Are you already fed up with running alone? Kids will often walk themselves to school, due to the overwhelming safety that we enjoy here in Iceland. Finally, our customs in Iceland may seem very strange for first-time visitors. As they say in Iceland “Áfram með smjörið.” Which means “on with the butter.” On its surface it means nothing, but it is a way of saying “keep going, keep moving forward.” Only a group of people with a dry sense of humor would offer words of encouragement by channeling the perseverance and strength of butter. Traditionally, Icelanders were encouraged to eat to bursting point, during what would be their last proper meal before Lent. Icelandic traditional arts include weaving, silversmithing, and wood carving. Sumardagurinn fyrsti Heck, I don’t even walk on the cracks in the sidewalk if I can avoid it. Iceland is lucky to have education that is free all the way up through college. Caroling on Halloween is very odd for a lot of people. Your complete travel guide to Iceland. Which is the best car rental in Iceland? Today children celebrate the day by dressing up in costumes and singing in shops for sweets and treats, a little like Hallowe’en celebrations. Icelandic Authors on Icelandic Literature, Iceland Dream List - Ian Harper and Henry Nathan, Iceland Dream List - Eliza Reid, First Lady of Iceland, It's about time to be Inspired by Iceland. Midsummer Night, The longest day of the year, is endowed with great mystical powers. We are Jana & Berglind. Here in Iceland, we are very trusting. With a total area of 103,000 km² (39,768 square miles), Iceland is the world’s 18th, and Europe’s 2nd largest island (following Great Britain). I think it probably was a coping mechanism to deal with centuries of dreadfully cold and dark winters. For those of you in the United States, I envy your version of Santa Claus. The cuisine is definitely an acquired taste; delicacies include smoked lamb, seared lamb’s head, putrefied shark, ram’s testicles and flatbread, all washed down with Icelandic spirits. That way when you get here, you won’t be caught off-guard. Their relaxing properties also create social avenues, so they are essential to us. On Bolludagur we try to eat as many pastries as we possibly can during the day. Learn how your comment data is processed. In Iceland, we use minimal chemicals, especially in our hot springs and hot pots. 300 km, between East and West cca. Iceland has a fantastic storytelling tradition. Traditional dishes include ptarmigan, smoked lamb or smoked pork and pickled red cabbage. Traditional cream puffs, the … But there’s more to this fascinating island than its innate beauty. Native instruments, including the bouzoukis, uilleann pipes, and the Celtic harp further celebrate the culture of Ireland. So, if you are in Iceland during Ash Wednesday, and you see a group of Ninja Turtles singing in a store in Reykjavik, don’t be alarmed. If you have never heard of this tradition, you should research it. In fact, per capita, we are considered one of the best-educated countries in the world. It’s impossible to eat just one. If you are still interested you should check out some of our most famous phrases. Sundagarðar 2 • 104 Reykjavík, Iceland. There is a strong food culture in Iceland, although some of the more traditional dishes are an acquired taste. Alongside historic traditions, quirky new rituals have sprung up in Iceland in modern times, from queueing in snowstorms to buy ice cream after swimming at the local … 500 km. The cakes are little buns filled with jam and whip cream, topped with chocolate, and made with love. Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice Iceland is often described as dramatic, thrilling, and otherworldly, with natural wonders shaped by unrelenting forces. Throughout the year there are events and festivals celebrating different aspects of Icelandic culture and history – from its Viking past up to the ever growing Gay Pride festival. https://www.iamreykjavik.com/icelands-culture-traditions-customs Follow us on the following social networks and websites. Many tales and anecdotes belong in an oral tradition, and concern the huldufólk, meaning hidden people. And we are an excellent case study for this. Handshaking is the normal form of greeting. We tend to leave our children outside in strollers and prams to let them enjoy our fresh Icelandic air while they peacefully slumber. But, we still have strong ties to our original Norse gods. We just want you to be clean! The popular myths more often than not coincide with the most challenging months of winter and integrate food into the celebrations! To start with, the Icelandic word for wedding, “brúðkaup” literally means The day is the birthday of the country’s independence hero, Jón Sigurdsson. So, let’s get those tummies rumbling while I tell you some of our more popular traditions. Car Rental Iceland. Presents are opened after Christmas dinner, which is a fairly formal affair. Not to be confused with the official Independence Day on 17 June, this is celebrated on 1 December, to recognise Iceland’s declaration of independence from Denmark in 1918. We tend to overlook lousy singing. In addition to the traditional holidays listed here, numerous festivals take place throughout the year. It is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday when heavily salted lamb is consumed with a side serving of pea soup. Spanning generations, this Irish music genre sees instruments such as fiddle, piano, and acoustic guitar take centre stage. It is so safe … There are four active folk dance ensembles in Iceland. Bolludagur But it is true! New Year’s Eve When you don’t have barriers to school, your population tends to thrive. The occasion is marked by various fireworks displays and bonfires. Icelanders have a relaxed attitude towards traditions but some of our old ways still frequently make their way into a couple’s big day. 6 January is celebrated as the last day of Christmas. Here, you can also follow up tapping on wood by saying the numbers “7, 9, and 13”. The most important aspect that you need to keep in mind about us is that we are some of the friendliest folks in the world. It is situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, directly under the Arctic Circle (66° N). Many of the festivities are related to ancient Norse traditions, while others tie in to the Christian calendar, even though nowadays most Icelanders celebrate these events in a secular way. It is very interesting indeed! Wife-carrying Championship: Finland. These three numbers are thought to have special powers. You can try one of … Icelandic art has been built on northern European traditions of the nineteenth century, but developed in distinct directions in the 20th century, influenced in particular by the unique Icelandic landscape as well as by Icelandic mythology and culture. The day that falls two days before Lent is called Bolludagur or Bun Day. The reason behind this is to prevent any unwanted bacteria or substances from getting into the water with you. Iceland Holidays for Seniors – Iceland Tours & Tourism. 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. And that is the goal of any trip, right? Icelandic Holidays, Traditions & Celebrations 1. They are tiny and delicious! It is a country that treasures and celebrates its cultural traditions and history whilst championing an innovative and forward-thinking mentality within its society. Thorrablót Prior to the 20th century, Icelandic art was influenced by northern European traditions. Medieval Icelandic, the language of the historical-literary tradition, sometimes is called Old Norse. Following the indulgence of bun day comes sprengidagur – bursting day. The visual arts are highly valued in Icelandic culture as witnessed by the vibrant art scene displayed on walls everywhere from clothing boutiques and cafes to hotels and office spaces. Icelanders decorate the interior and exterior of their houses extensively, in an effort to brighten up the dark winter days and nights. Women’s Day is celebrated by giving flowers and presents to wives and girlfriends. We don’t really celebrate Halloween in Iceland, but during Ash Wednesday or Öskudagur, our children will dress up in costumes and visit different shops in Iceland to carol inside of them. March 17th marks the day of St Patrick, celebrated by millions of people … Many of the festivities are related to ancient Norse traditions, while others tie in to the Christian calendar, even though nowadays most Icelanders celebrate these events in a secular way. Bolludagur, or “bun-day,” is celebrated about two months before Easter in Iceland. By wash, I mean you must wash everything. Again, this is only possible due to the security that we enjoy in Iceland. Fyrsti Vetradagur – First Day of Winter ... As the host of the All Things Iceland podcast, she shares about Icelandic culture, history, language and nature. We have a dry sense of humor, and it may catch you off guard. They are always in eyesight, and it has been proven to aid their sleep. To get a better idea, I am going to list some of the more common conventions that we have here in Iceland. However, with the emergence of an independent national identity, Icelandic artists began to focus on the country's unique l… The first day of the ancient Norse month of Thorri begins with bóndadagur, or 'husband's day'. Icelanders have several unique holidays and celebrate the more common ones in special ways. If you have travel plans to visit Iceland, you may be interested in learning more about the culture. Thorramatur, a tradition that celebrates our original culture, is a perfect example of that. These communal swimming areas act as meeting points for all Icelanders, and it is an excellent way for our people to interact with each other and relax (especially during our difficult winter months). Costco Iceland: Low prices or fair prices? This is not the case in Iceland! The roots of Icelandic cuisine are to be found in the traditions of Scandinavian cuisine, as Icelandic culture, from its settlement in the 9th century onwards, is a distinctly Nordic culture with a traditional economy based on subsistence farming.Several events in the history of Iceland were of special significance for its cuisine. Independence Day Bolludagur is my favorite! While there are too many to list here, I will try to outline some of my favorites. Tipping in Iceland is not popular as we mostly pay in plastic. We fear our Santa Clause(s)! Find tips, book trips, affordable holidays or a self drive tour. Almost Crime Free. 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