While definitely European/Scandinavian in nature, the country of Iceland is unique in so many ways that I felt its quirkiness deserved an entire post of its own. During the holidays in Iceland, there is a custom to make sure the house is clean and to leave food for the elves on Christmas Eve so that they â¦ Stúfur - Itty Bitty $12.50 $ 12. - www.whychristmas.com, Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. Cows are meant to be able to talk, seals take on human form, the dead rise from their graves, and the Elves move house. The Jólasveinar are thought of as playful imps or elves who like lots to eat and playing little tricks on people. Christmas is often known as 'Jól' (Yule) in Iceland. The custom of giving books at Christmas in Iceland is called 'Jolabokaflod' or 'Jólabókaflóð' which translates as 'Christmas flood of books'! The tree is normally decorated on Þorláksmessa or early Christmas Eve. Apart from shopping, there are also hot food and drinks, horse-drawn carriage rides, and live music to â¦ Every night one Yuletide lad visits, leaving sweets and small gifts or rotting potatoes, depending on how that particular child has behaved on the preceding day. The folklore includes both mischievous pranksters who leave gifts during the night and monsters who eat disobedient children.. Although Christmas is generally considered the most joyous of holidays, it does generate its share of stress. Icelanders celebrated Christmas long before christianity was made the official religion in Iceland. This is also a big shopping day for last minute gifts, with stores remaining open until midnight. Kertasníkir - Candle Beggar. Children also traditionally receive a candle and sometimes a pack of cards. Christmas is a magical time spent with friends and family and often involves a lot of eating. This is another day for visiting friends and family and eating lots more! There are lots of customs and traditions about Jól in Iceland. Kæst Skata e. Putrefied Skate. Celebrations start at Iceland at 6.00pm on Jól Eve. The Christmas Eve book-giving tradition is the culmination of a months-long national literary celebration called jólabókaflóð or the "Christmas Book Flood." On Christmas Eve many people in Iceland will open a new book as a gift, and read it with a cup of hot chocolate or Jolabland (an Icelandic drink made of fizzy orange soda and brown ale/beer). Icelandic children place a shoe in their bedroom window each evening in the 13 days before Christmas. This is when the Jól celebrations really start! Bjúgnakrækir - Sausage Snatcher Christmas in Iceland lasts for 26 days, from the 11th of December until the 6th of January, and Iceland has 13 Santa Clauses, or Yule Lads. GáttaÞefur - Doorway Sniffer This is still done in a few places today! Bonfires have been lit on Gamlárskvöld since the late 1700s. $4.00 shipping. 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! 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). Iceland is home to the world’s oldest parliament. It started during WWII when books weren't rationed and many other things were, so books made really good gifts. On TV. 50. The Jól (or Christmas) tree is usually decorated on this day. Jóladagur - Christmas Day / Jól Day Here are 77 interesting facts about Iceland to help stimulate your curiosity and desire to travel to the Land of Fire and Ice. Starting the celebrations at 6pm is said to have come from an old Icelandic tradition where a new day started at 6pm and not midnight. The Icelandic Flag is also commonly used as a decoration. She can only capture children who misbehave but those who repent must be released. Christmas season starts when the first Yule Lad comes to town (13 days before Christmas Eve), and finishes when the last one leaves town (Twelfth Night). At 6pm the Christmas celebrations usually start off with a delicious Christmas meal with your close family members. The settlement of Iceland began in the year 874 AD when a Viking chieftain from Norway, Ingólfr Arnarson, became the island’s first permanent settler.More Norwegians some Scandinavians as well followed through the centuries. To get to the bottom of it all, I spoke to Josepha and Karl, two of the in-house Greenlanders here at the office and they told me all about how Greenland does Christmas. $12.99 $ 12. Christmas Island, officially Territory of Christmas Island, island in the Indian Ocean, about 224 miles (360 km) south of the island of Java and 870 miles (1,400 km) northwest of Australia, that is administered as an external territory of Australia.The island is the summit of an oceanic mountain whose highest point on the island is Murray Hill, rising to 1,184 feet (361 metres) in the … intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, Icelandic children open their presents after the evening meal on Aðfangadagur. The first artificial Christmas Tree wasn’t a tree at all. The official tourism website for Iceland, Inspired by Iceland, Visit Iceland, Iceland, Iceland tourism, come and be inspired by iceland If children have been naughty, they might leave a potato or little message telling them to be good. The main Christmas celebration in Iceland begins promptly at 18:00 on Christmas Eve, December 24, in keeping with an old Catholic custom. Thorlakur Thorhallsson', the Bishop of Skálholt. Þrettándinn - Epiphany - January 6th Iceland, country of geothermal pools and northern lights, volcanoes, and glaciers, is a prosperous nation. In Iceland, there's a special Christmas tradition that involves a very special cat that roams the streets one time per year. Other Christmas stories are rather bleak in nature, perhaps reflecting the harshness of winter and the isolation of the community in previous centuries. This is the main day of Christmas in Iceland with celebrations typically starting around 6pm. Nowadays, there are evergreen trees grown on Iceland and people have evergreen Jól trees. The factors that are taking into consideration in the rank include safety, militarisations, ongoing conflicts, and security. Old Icelandic folklore states that every Icelander must receive a new piece of clothing for Christmas or they will find themselves in mortal danger. Christmas traditions are remarkable around the world for their great variance, and Greenland is no exception. From a relatively young age Icelandic children are told the story of Grýla, the ogress living in the Icelandic mountains. The religiously observant and/or traditional Icelanders will attend … These are magical people who come from the mountains in Iceland and each day from December 12th to Jól Eve a different Jólasveinn (Jóltide lad) comes. Iceland's major Saint is 'heilagur Þorlákur Þórhallsson', or 'St. The main Christmas celebration in Iceland begins promptly at 18:00 on Christmas Eve, December 24, in keeping with an old Catholic custom. The stories are directed at children and are used to scare them into good behaviour. Traditionally, one candle is lit each Sunday until four candles are lit on the 24th. Some people like to have it smoked to add flavour and traditionally it was smoked over sheep's dung! Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. In the year … Icelandic Christmas traditions are downright terrifying! Grýla lives in the mountains with her third husband, her thirteen children and a black cat. Kæst Skata or putrefied skate is the fish that … Plus some general information that can be useful for planning a trip. Hurðaskellir - Door Slammer City-Souvenirs Iceland Christmas Ornament Porcelain Double Sided 2.75 Inches. The eve before December 12, everyone who believes in the Yule Lads will put a shoe on the window sill and keep it there for 13 days. … In September, the Iceland Publishers Association mails a book catalog called the Bókatíðindi to every home in Iceland (browse the Bókatíðindi 2018).And from the moment the catalog arrives until Christmas Eve, all of Iceland … Iceland Facts | Iceland Geography. Later Iceland was ruled also by the Norwegians and the Danes. There are no native evergreen trees in Iceland, so the first Jól or Christmas Trees were Rowan (mountain ash). Þorláksmessa is celebrated 2 days before Christmas day on 23 rd of December. This very specific number has to do with the number of Icelandic Jólasveinar (Santa Clauses, if you aren’t keeping up).. Every night until Christmas, a new Yule Lad will visit the window and place a small gift in the shoe. 99. Christmas in Icelandic is Jól, which was celebrated in Iceland long before it became a Christian nation. One other big Jól custom is the coming of the 'Jólasveinarnir' or Jóltide Lads. This is one of the most important nights of the year in Iceland and there are several magical traditions that are supposed to happen on it! The first recorded Jól tree was in 1862. Read on to learn more about some of the most popular and festive activities! Christmas tree. During World War II, Iceland was occupied by British and US American troops. The Christmas Eve book-giving tradition is the culmination of a months-long national literary celebration called jólabókaflóð or the "Christmas Book Flood." They leave little presents for children in shoes placed on the windowsill. And there was their pet, the Icelandic Christmas cat. The Jól season consists of the following days: Þorláksmessa - St. Thorlakur's Day - December 23rd 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. Annar Jóladagur - Boxing Day Aðfangadagur - Christmas Eve / Jól Eve 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. Weekino Iceland Aurora Christmas Xmas Tree Ornament Decoration Hanging Pendant Decor City Travel Souvenir Collection Double Sided Porcelain 2.85 Inch. But now TV is on all through the Christmas period.). Iceland is the oldest democracy in the w… At 6:00 pm Church bells ring to start the Christmas celebration. Iceland lies in the Arctic Region of Northern Europe. Iceland’s rich democratic tradition dates … Jólasveinar first came to Iceland in the 17th century as the sons of Grýla and Leppalúði, a couple of child-eating, bloodthirsty ogres!!! Christmas Tree Traditions An enormous black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this simple rule. Another Jól meal speciality is 'Laufabrauð' or leaf bread. 1. Leading up to the holiday, Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, engages in a variety of charming and spirited traditions to get everybody in the Christmas spirit. Iceland interesting facts: the flag Iceland Is The Most Peaceful Country In The World. Residents here are known as Christmas Islanders! Public entertainment is considered inappropriate on Jól Eve and Jól Day, and it is on Boxing Day that dancing is again allowed in public! The horrible Icelandic Yule lads were a gruesome bunch of trolls that terrorized children and stole food from hungry peasants around Christmas. Sometimes called “snowflake bread”, Laufabraud is a traditional kind of Icelandic bread eaten during the Christmas season. © Copyright 2000 - 2021 James Cooper | About the site | Cookies & Privacy | Site Map | Other Links | Support | Website logistics by LetterBlock | Proud Affiliate of the Merry Network, whychristmas?com answers your Christmas questions! This is called 'sprengja út árið' or 'blowing out the year'. The capital is Flying Fish Cove; it had a population of 500 in 2013. First Parliament. Their parents were the horrible ogre Grýla who ate naughty children and her bedridden lazy no-good husband Leppaludi. Jól also include the New Year celebrations. Þvörusleikir - Pot Scraper Licker She is a dreadful character, described as part troll and part animal and the mother of 13 precocious boys (the Yule Lads). Sometimes 'Rjúpa' (Rock Ptarmigan a gamebird) is also eaten. Every Christmas, Grýla and her sons come down from the mountains: Grýla in search of naughty children to boil in her cauldron and the boys in search of mischief. It is traditional to have a star or crown on top of the tree. Except for a brief interruption from 1799-1844, Iceland’s independent commonwealth has been governed by the Althingi parliament since 930, the world’s oldest extant parliamentary institution. As many countries do, Iceland celebrates Chrismas mostly with good food and gifts to loved ones, but unlike most countries that have a single Father Christmas / Santa Claus character, Icelandic children are fortunate enough to be visited by 13 Yule Lads. This is the last day of Jól, celebrated with bonfires and Elfin dances. Icelandic Christmas folklore depicts mountain-dwelling characters and monsters who come to town during Christmas. The Icelandic Christmas period is an intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, beginning on 23 December and ending on Epiphany, 6 January. Here are 25 interesting things to learn about the Land of Fire and Ice that you may not have known before! Before being used to steal kisses, the ancient Celts believed … Giving books as gifts is so common in Iceland that a free book catalog is delivered to each home in the autumn in time for the annual âChristmas Book Flood.â 8. If you’re like me, you love traveling to places that … Gamlárskvöld / Nýársdagur - New Year's Eve / New Year's Day 1. Pottasleikir - Pot Licker During pagan times, December 21st, the shortest day of the year, was when people gathered to celebrate the turning point towards longer days, a very significant moment in such Northern latitudes. Christmas in Iceland Þorláksmessa - St. Thorlakur's Day - December 23rd. This is made of thin sheets of dough cut into delicate patterns and fried. Iceland became independent from the Kingdom of Denmark in 1918. This may have come from old Icelandic tradition, when a new day started at 6.00pm not midnight. Historical facts. Aðfangadagur - The heat and humidity here is moderated by trade winds. The Christmas Cat 2. Icelandic Christmas folklore depicts mountain-dwelling characters and monsters who come to town during Christmas.The stories are directed at children and are used to scare them into good behaviour. Iceland is home to the very first parliament grounds in Europe. This obnoxious feline is know as the Christmas Cat. Each Yuletide lad has a specific idiosyncrasy and will therefore behave in a particular manner. A very large tree stands outside Reykjavík (the capital of Iceland) Cathedral and is a yearly present from the people of Oslo, Norway. Like in Finland, cemeteries are often lit up and decorated with Christmas lights over Christmas. On St. Thorlakur's Day, the main custom is eating of a simple meal of skata or skate. If you're… SundagarÃ°ar 2 â¢ 104 ReykjavÃk, Iceland, intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, Other Christmas stories are rather bleak in nature. Iceland is known for having some of the best Christmas celebrations in the world! Jóladagur is usually celebrated with the extended family. Follow us on the following social networks and websites. In Iceland, you can’t spell Christmas without Laufabraud, figuratively speaking. People then started to make Jól Trees from a central pole with branches attached to it and it was all painted green. Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. (TV used to stop at about 5.00pm and restarted at 10.00pm! Most Icelanders use real trees, as opposed to artificial ones. Each family often has their own patterns for the Laufabrauð. Sign up for our monthly newsletter on all things Icelandic. The folklore includes both mischievous pranksters who leave gifts during the night and monsters who eat disobedient children. Presents might also be brought by Jólasveinn (Jól Man). It was created out of goose feathers … The holiday horrors all start thirteen days before Christmas when the Yule Lads start their reign of terror. Christmas Islanders enjoy a tropical climate with a dry season from May to November, followed by a rainy season from December to April. If you're looking for holiday activities in Iceland, the Christmas market in Hafnarfjörður is one of the largest and most popular, and is about a 20-minute drive outside of the capital city, Reykjavík. From elves and trolls to glaciers and volcanoes, here are 20 fun Iceland facts that make it the incredibly cool country that it is. If you live in Iceland, you have more than these relatively-mundane things to put you on edge.Icelandic Christmas traditions are downright terrifying! Iceland is ranked number #1 in the Global Peace Index almost every year. They start going home on Christmas Day, with the last one leaving on Þrettándinn. It is usually one of the biggest shopping days in Iceland as people route to the stores in a fury to get the last Christmas gifts.. Þorláksmessa is named after St. ÞorlákurÞórhallsson, a pastor in Iceland in the 12 th century. Happy/Merry Christmas/Jól in Icelandic is 'Gleðileg jól'. This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it … Gluggagægir - Window Peeper It is traditional in Iceland that everybody has a new piece of clothing for Jól and also often a book. Many of the magical traditions associated with New Year's Eve are also supposed to happen at Þrettándinn. Related: 10 Fascinating Wedding Traditions From Around The World But this cat isn't the cute, friendly, four-legged friend that we might imagine roaming the streets of Iceland. There are many other fascinating facts about Iceland to discover too. $4.54 shipping. 11. Since 1944 Iceland is a republic. There Aren’t Many People. Giljagaur - Gully Imp Iceland's major Saint is 'heilagur Þorlákur Þórhallsson', or 'St. People also have big fireworks displays to bring in the New Year. Skyrgámur - Skyr Gobbler (Skyr, an Icelandic yoghurt) In Iceland the traditional Christmas meal is roast lamb. One traditional story is that the Christmas cat will eat you unless you wear one piece of new clothing on Christmas day! Mistletoe’s not just for kissing. Here are thirteen of the most common names of the Jólasveinar: Stekkjarstaur - Gimpy Ketkrókur - Meat Hooker Askasleikir - Bowl Licker The pressure of Christmas shopping, meal planning, and holiday travel can cause anxiety for even the sturdiest of souls. The main Jól meal is 'Hangikjöt', a leg of roast lamb. This comes from the ancient winter solstice celebrations, that were taken over by the early Christians. 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