iceland culture and traditions
Are you already fed up with running alone? It is very interesting indeed! Independence Day Medieval Icelandic, the language of the historical-literary tradition, sometimes is called Old Norse. It is celebrated on Shrove Tuesday when heavily salted lamb is consumed with a side serving of pea soup. 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). Dagur Íslenskrar tungu Thorramatur, a tradition that celebrates our original culture, is a perfect example of that. Icelandic Holidays, Traditions & Celebrations 1. The month of Thorri comes to an end with 'wife's day', a day to celebrate women. 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. Wife-carrying Championship: Finland. 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. In Iceland, you must wash yourself before you get into a pool or hot pot. A cake-filled marathon until we meet our untimely demise?! Icelanders have several unique holidays and celebrate the more common ones in special ways. Learn how your comment data is processed. No, you aren’t going to go swimming in a glacier lagoon, in fact, I would highly recommend against it! Ash Wednesday is mostly celebrated by children in Iceland. Shops are also open very late for the many who leave their Christmas buying frenzy until the last minute. Car Rental Iceland. The occasion is marked by various fireworks displays and bonfires. 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. Icelanders have several unique holidays and celebrate the more common ones in special ways. Follow us on the following social networks and websites. 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. Women’s Day is celebrated the day after Þorri ends. According to Icelandic folklore cows gain the power of speech for the night, and seals can take a human form. The population of Iceland may be just shy of 350,000 people, but that hasn’t stopped the humble nation from developing a rich and diverse cultural heritage that inspires travellers from across the globe. The first written cookbooks in Iceland were published in the 18th century and were a collection of Danish recipes. But there’s more to this fascinating island than its innate beauty. 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). Over the millennium that they have existed, Icelandic people, isolated on a faraway polar isle, have created a fascinating and storied culture. Women’s Day is celebrated by giving flowers and presents to wives and girlfriends. Caroling on Halloween is very odd for a lot of people. We have a dry sense of humor, and it may catch you off guard. This bank holiday, the first Monday in August, celebrates shopkeepers and other merchants. 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. Icelandic Republic Day 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. Individuals looking forward to a visit of Iceland you should know some history about its culture and traditions. Konudagur Bakeries and home chefs prepare sweet cream puffs filled with cream and jam and drizzled with chocolate. The popular myths more often than not coincide with the most challenging months of winter and integrate food into the celebrations! 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. It isn’t uncommon to see valuables unattended in public. The mainstays of Icelandic cuisine are fresh, locally sourced lamb and fish dishes. Sprengidagur In addition to the traditional holidays listed here, numerous festivals take place throughout the year. 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. Sign up for our monthly newsletter on all things Icelandic. So even on a short city break, we can help you to experience the authentic heart of Iceland. Your complete travel guide to Iceland. We just want you to be clean! Here, you can also follow up tapping on wood by saying the numbers “7, 9, and 13”. The challenge was to then pin the bag onto innocent passersby. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. While our culture is open and affable, we also have a plethora of rich and fascinating traditions. Almost Crime Free. Campervan Iceland: Ranking Top 5 Campervan Rental Companies in Iceland. We are Jana & Berglind. Outside can mean parks, stoops, or wherever we park them. 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 Icelandic Over the Top 3-Day Food Fest. Icelandic culture is packed with fascinating traditions. There are four active folk dance ensembles in Iceland. Reykjavik has always been the hotbed of Iceland’s subversive creativity renowned for its vibrant, energetic character. 6 January is celebrated as the last day of Christmas. You should pack a bathing suit before you make your way to Iceland. The first day of the ancient Norse month of Thorri begins with bóndadagur, or 'husband's day'. Native instruments, including the bouzoukis, uilleann pipes, and the Celtic harp further celebrate the culture of Ireland. Welcome! Eventually, we left our Nordic religion and converted to Christianity. The cakes are little buns filled with jam and whip cream, topped with chocolate, and made with love. I am sure just reading it on paper is has given you pause to try to re-read the previous sentence twice. Again, this is only possible due to the security that we enjoy in Iceland. For each smack, they receive a bun. They are equal parts funny and slightly confusing. The shortest distances to Iceland’s nearest neighbors are about 280 … Surely a treacherous time agical things are said to take place on this evening, including rumours that cows can speak! Christmas is celebrated on 24 December promptly at 6pm in the evening. He seems like a really amicable man, who genuinely wants you to enjoy your holidays. It is so safe … The first professional secular painters appeared in Iceland in the 19th century. You can try one of … Language and Communication Style 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. Below I will outline some integral and fascinating facets of Iceland’s culture, traditions, and customs. Bun Day and Bursting Day Iceland Traditions. 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. By knowing the customs, you will have a better experience on your trip, and you will understand us a little better! New Year’s Eve Iceland is lucky to have education that is free all the way up through college. Traditionally, Icelanders were encouraged to eat to bursting point, during what would be their last proper meal before Lent. More on Icelandic Christmas. Sumardagurinn fyrsti However, with the emergence of an independent national identity, Icelandic artists began to focus on the country's unique l… The culture of Iceland is rich and varied as well as being known for its literary heritage which began in the 12th century. Icelanders have a relaxed attitude towards traditions but some of our old ways still frequently make their way into a couple’s big day. 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 … If you are still interested you should check out some of our most famous phrases. 300 km, between East and West cca. In fact, per capita, we are considered one of the best-educated countries in the world. Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. These three numbers are thought to have special powers. The island is almost entirely free of crime, especially violent crime. Kids will often walk themselves to school, due to the overwhelming safety that we enjoy here in Iceland. Icelandic is a Germanic language related to Norwegian. More... Due to the high level of education, we have many, many authors. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask! 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. The day is the birthday of the country’s independence hero, Jón Sigurdsson. Parenting has never been more stressful than on this day. Before any trip, you should become accustomed to some aspects of the country you are visiting (its just good practice). 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. History. You have entered an incorrect email address! Iceland’s unique nature, closely-knit population, and enterprising spirit have all contributed to a dynamic, original cultural scene. It’s impossible to eat just one. The Icelandic language day is celebrated on 16 November, the birthday of 19th-century writer Jónas Hallgrímsson, to symbolise the importance of protecting the Icelandic language. For those of you in the United States, I envy your version of Santa Claus. 500 km. There are national holidays on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday. I would highly recommend that you investigate further, especially if you are coming here for an extended period. This applies to belongings, but it also applies to our children! Bolludagur is my favorite! 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. To get a better idea, I am going to list some of the more common conventions that we have here in Iceland. And that is the goal of any trip, right? 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. Find tips, book trips, affordable holidays or a self drive tour. However, it is who we are as a people. Traditional dishes include ptarmigan, smoked lamb or smoked pork and pickled red cabbage. Iceland has a fantastic storytelling tradition. What people eat in Iceland though is becoming internationally famous now. Spanning generations, this Irish music genre sees instruments such as fiddle, piano, and acoustic guitar take centre stage. Icelandic literature traces its beginnings back to the 13th century, when sagas were written in the Old Norse language. Many restaurants specialise in seafood due to Iceland being surrounded by an ocean abundant with all manner of fish and shellfish. We tend to leave our children outside in strollers and prams to let them enjoy our fresh Icelandic air while they peacefully slumber. Bolludagur Þorláksmessa For many, this signifies the beginning of Christmas. Here in Iceland, we are very trusting. However, knocking on wood is but one level of protection you can offer yourself against tempting fate in Iceland. We tend to overlook lousy singing. 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! 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. 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. The Reykjavík area has several professional theaters, a symphony orchestra, an opera and many art galleries, bookstores, cinemas and museums. Prior to the 20th century, Icelandic art was influenced by northern European traditions. From the white dress to the throwing of the bouquet, modern Icelandic weddings look a lot like American ones. Our humor can be off-putting for those unaccustomed to it. 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. Bóndadagur Funny enough, some Danish baking traditions are still practiced in Iceland but have died out in Denmark. 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! Iceland's … 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. 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. Here in Iceland, we are notoriously friendly! 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 … But, we still have strong ties to our original Norse gods. NOTE - Icelanders do not blink before making a turns as we should. Which is the best car rental in Iceland? We love visitors, and we want you to enjoy our country as much as we do. March 17th marks the day of St Patrick, celebrated by millions of people … Christmas Iceland’s national day, 17 June, commemorates the creation of Iceland as a republic in 1944. These are … Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice Iceland is often described as dramatic, thrilling, and otherworldly, with natural wonders shaped by unrelenting forces. Twelfth Night Most Icelandic children in their 14th year are confirmed during the Easter period. Easter Icelandic Traditions, Customs & Habits That You Might Find Strange Thorrablot – the festival of ram testicles, shark & hard liquor. I think it probably was a coping mechanism to deal with centuries of dreadfully cold and dark winters. The people visiting Iceland tell us that what they fall in love with is the Icelandic way of life. Visitors will find Iceland is a classless society with a strong literary tradition. This time men do the treating, buying flowers or other traditional gifts for the significant women in their lives. In Iceland, we have many traditions that go back almost a millennium. Their relaxing properties also create social avenues, so they are essential to us. Most of Iceland’s traditional cookie and cake recipes come from Denmark. So don’t worry, we don’t want to see you naked! Traditionally, the weather is anything but summery. Before you get up in arms and grab your pitchforks about our parenting practices, you should know there is a method to the madness. They are tiny and delicious! Handshaking is the normal form of greeting. In addition to the traditional holidays listed here, numerous festivals take place throughout the year. Öskudagur When you don’t have barriers to school, your population tends to thrive. Statistics show that 1 out of 10 Icelanders will publish a book in their lifetime. 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). Icelandic culture remains rich and varied, with friendly people, intriguing traditions, fun festivals, and fascinating food. There are no family names. I am always knocking on wood, but that is because I am a superstitious person. Icelandic traditional arts include weaving, silversmithing, and wood carving. Iceland loves to celebrate its cultural traditions, old and new. Iceland was originally colonized by Erik the Red in 982. https://www.iamreykjavik.com/icelands-culture-traditions-customs 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. Presents are opened after Christmas dinner, which is a fairly formal affair. 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). Fyrsti Vetradagur – First Day of Winter ... As the host of the All Things Iceland podcast, she shares about Icelandic culture, history, language and nature. 23 December is St. Þorlákur's Day, when Icelanders eat putrefied skate to symbolise what was traditionally the end of the Christmas fast. Finally, our customs in Iceland may seem very strange for first-time visitors. Numerous outdoor festivals take place around the country, and many people leave the capital area for a weekend at their summerhouses or camping. Iceland was founded more than 1,000 years ago during the Viking age of exploration and settled by a mixed Norse and Celtic population. Verslunarmannahelgi There is a strong food culture in Iceland, although some of the more traditional dishes are an acquired taste. But it is true! Summarizing an entire’s country’s identity in one blog post is nearly impossible to do. 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. So, let’s get those tummies rumbling while I tell you some of our more popular traditions. Many tales and anecdotes belong in an oral tradition, and concern the huldufólk, meaning hidden people. Knocking on wood appears to be a pretty standard practice around the world to dissuade fate from ruing your plans. Icelandic has been said to be virtually unaltered since medieval times, although many Icelanders disagree. 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. We fear our Santa Clause(s)! In Iceland, we use minimal chemicals, especially in our hot springs and hot pots. Midsummer Night, The longest day of the year, is endowed with great mystical powers. Iceland Holidays for Seniors – Iceland Tours & Tourism. Bolludagur, or “bun-day,” is celebrated about two months before Easter in Iceland. On Bolludagur we try to eat as many pastries as we possibly can during the day. Following the indulgence of bun day comes sprengidagur – bursting day. 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. Traditionally ashes were collected into small ash bags. However, it is ok to leave smt for the cleaners when leaving a hotel. We also boast one of the highest publishing rates of any country in the world. They are always in eyesight, and it has been proven to aid their sleep. St Patrick’s Day Traditions. Icelandic culture is often quirky and fun, and very interesting (in our humble opinion). The early settlement, made up primarily of Norwegian seafarers and adventurers, fostered further excursions to Greenland and the coast of … Many public holidays are steeped in unique celebratory traditions, and the shared practice of these customs creates a strong feeling of community. If you have travel plans to visit Iceland, you may be interested in learning more about the culture. The day that falls two days before Lent is called Bolludagur or Bun Day. Iceland fuses the best of both worlds. Becoming acquainted with our holidays, like Bolludagur, or knowing that children carol on Halloween here instead of trick-or-treating, will better help you piece together what it means to be an Icelander. From the ancient sagas to award-winning films, Icelanders are a generally writing, acting, composing, designing, painting, sculpting, and all-round creating bunch. While there are too many to list here, I will try to outline some of my favorites. Sundagarðar 2 • 104 Reykjavík, Iceland. If you have never heard of this tradition, you should research it. Each year, Icelanders are involved in numerous celebrations and traditions which make this captivating country even more special. 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. We are a well-read and inquisitive group of people. Traditional cream puffs, the … Icelandic Culture Driving in Iceland Natural Wonders Practical info We have 13 different Santas called Yule Lads who are all very mischievous, and they leave treats in the children’s shoes. Okay, I am joking, but Santa is very different here in Iceland. About two weeks before Christmas, children leave their shoes in their windowsills, and they awake to find treats in gifts in their shoes. Today children celebrate the day by dressing up in costumes and singing in shops for sweets and treats, a little like Hallowe’en celebrations. Thorrablót 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. 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. For me, it is just an excuse to eat as many pastries as humanly possible, and isn’t dessert what life is really about? Sjómannadagur Hot pots and pools dominate the cultural sphere here in Iceland. The cultural aspects, traditions, and customs laid out above are a small-scale representation of what makes Iceland, well, Iceland. Traditions. Heck, I don’t even walk on the cracks in the sidewalk if I can avoid it. Costco Iceland: Low prices or fair prices? A religious holiday in Iceland and marked by the giving and receiving of large chocolate eggs filled with sweets. To start with, the Icelandic word for wedding, “brúðkaup” literally means Most Icelanders buy their own fireworks and set them off at midnight to welcome in the New Year. The children are rewarded with candies and treats for their singing. This is celebrated with the gathering of family and friends at home and visits to the local bonfire. It is not an official holiday. The reason behind this is to prevent any unwanted bacteria or substances from getting into the water with you. It is a country that treasures and celebrates its cultural traditions and history whilst championing an innovative and forward-thinking mentality within its society. By wash, I mean you must wash everything. That way when you get here, you won’t be caught off-guard. Icelanders decorate the interior and exterior of their houses extensively, in an effort to brighten up the dark winter days and nights. They have amusing names like Stubby, Gully Gawk, Pot Licker, Door Slammer, etc. The coastline is 6,000 km long; the distance between the North and South coasts is cca. Not only must you wash thoroughly, but you must also shower naked (this is the standard for most locations, but the rules vary). Grab your trunks, jump in, and relax. 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. And we are an excellent case study for this. It is situated in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, directly under the Arctic Circle (66° N). Tipping in Iceland is not popular as we mostly pay in plastic. Jónsmessa Culture Along with the Icelandic language, Iceland’s culture is strongly rooted in Norse traditions, expressed in the still-popular Sagas and ancient literature. In First Day of Summer is celebrated in Iceland with a holiday on the third Thursday in April. 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