So this is Christmas… in Iceland

So this is Christmas… in Iceland

It is third of advent, so here are more Christmas traditions to continue in my mini-series. This time we will have a look at Icelandic Christmas traditions.

Icelandic Christmas traditions: Jolasveinars – the dwarfs

Although Icelanders do celebrate advent as other European countries, they have a special way of giving gifts. More particularly – they don’t have just one Father of Christmas or Christmas man or other variation of men who are giving presents. They have 13th of them. And if the number seems too big, it isn’t, there used to be 72 of them. Those dwarfs that now are bringing gifts in shoes were supposed to learn kids on how to behave by giving them a bad example. So that is why there is a spoon licker, bowl licker and more dwarfs like this.

A few years back Santa became more and more popular but nowadays people went back to their original beliefs so they decided to keep the dwarfs.

Kids eating cat

This is a tradition that comes after the dwarfs. You need to get some kind of clothes from Christmas man or from the dwarfs. If not, a cat of the size of a house will come and eat you. So it is very important to get some clothes, even socks will do.

Christmas days

Icelandic Christmas traditions
Here is the traditional kids eating cat quite visible

The 23rd of December is the day of Þorláksmessa – Thorlak used to be a bishop on Iceland and this is the day when he died. In his name, Icelanders would come for a mass. And because he was a bishop, Icelanders would eat simple food to honor his memory. It is also traditional to decorate the tree on this day.

24th is the day of Christmas and the day when everyone gets gifts. For the dinner, they eat roasted sheep. And afterward, they would, of course, sing traditional Icelandic Christmas songs.

Icelandic Christmas is supposed to be mainly about family, so they visit each other a lot. They even have an extra day for it that they would call Boxing day. I don’t exactly know why is it call boxing day, but anyway, on this day you can dance in public.

New Years is celebrated by fireworks. The festive season ends on 6th of January when shops are no longer selling fireworks. According to Icelandic Christmas traditions on 6th, nature is coming slowly back to live and animals would speak on that day.

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