The Icelandic Flag is also commonly used as a decoration. The folklore includes both mischievous pranksters who leave gifts during the night and monsters who eat disobedient children. 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. In Iceland, you can’t spell Christmas without Laufabraud, figuratively speaking. There are lots of customs and traditions about Jól in Iceland. Public entertainment is considered inappropriate on Jól Eve and Jól Day, and it is on Boxing Day that dancing is again allowed in public! A very large tree stands outside Reykjavík (the capital of Iceland) Cathedral and is a yearly present from the people of Oslo, Norway. Here are 77 interesting facts about Iceland to help stimulate your curiosity and desire to travel to the Land of Fire and Ice. Historical facts. Christmas in Icelandic is Jól, which was celebrated in Iceland long before it became a Christian nation. Iceland’s rich democratic tradition dates … Annar Jóladagur - Boxing Day The capital is Flying Fish Cove; it had a population of 500 in 2013. Iceland's major Saint is 'heilagur Þorlákur Þórhallsson', or 'St. 99. 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. Iceland is ranked number #1 in the Global Peace Index almost every year. Read on to learn more about some of the most popular and festive activities! 1. 11. intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, The heat and humidity here is moderated by trade winds. The Icelandic Christmas period is an intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, beginning on 23 December and ending on Epiphany, 6 January. 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. Later Iceland was ruled also by the Norwegians and the Danes. 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. 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. Jól also include the New Year celebrations. Weekino Iceland Aurora Christmas Xmas Tree Ornament Decoration Hanging Pendant Decor City Travel Souvenir Collection Double Sided Porcelain 2.85 Inch. Christmas is often known as 'Jól' (Yule) in Iceland. The Christmas Cat Residents here are known as Christmas Islanders! Iceland, country of geothermal pools and northern lights, volcanoes, and glaciers, is a prosperous nation. The Yule Lads GáttaÞefur - Doorway Sniffer Þrettándinn - Epiphany - January 6th Other Christmas stories are rather bleak in nature, perhaps reflecting the harshness of winter and the isolation of the community in previous centuries. 2. Icelanders celebrated Christmas long before christianity was made the official religion in Iceland. There Aren’t Many People. Gluggagægir - Window Peeper 50. Icelandic children place a shoe in their bedroom window each evening in the 13 days before Christmas. 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. It is traditional in Iceland that everybody has a new piece of clothing for Jól and also often a book. Icelandic Christmas folklore depicts mountain-dwelling characters and monsters who come to town during Christmas. This is made of thin sheets of dough cut into delicate patterns and fried. First Parliament. If you live in Iceland, you have more than these relatively-mundane things to put you on edge.Icelandic Christmas traditions are downright terrifying! There are no native evergreen trees in Iceland, so the first Jól or Christmas Trees were Rowan (mountain ash). Bjúgnakrækir - Sausage Snatcher Each family often has their own patterns for the Laufabrauð. Before being used to steal kisses, the ancient Celts believed … This obnoxious feline is know as the Christmas Cat. The first recorded Jól tree was in 1862. Christmas folklore in Iceland, like its food, language and landscapes, is a bit more extreme than in neighbouring Nordic countries.While Scandinavia has its fill of unique Yuletide traditions (for example, the "Sauna Elf" in Finland) Iceland takes the prize for having the most hair-raising Christmas creatures.. The official tourism website for Iceland, Inspired by Iceland, Visit Iceland, Iceland, Iceland tourism, come and be inspired by iceland Þvörusleikir - Pot Scraper Licker If you’re like me, you love traveling to places that … The main Christmas celebration in Iceland begins promptly at 18:00 on Christmas Eve, December 24, in keeping with an old Catholic custom. Sign up for our monthly newsletter on all things Icelandic. If children have been naughty, they might leave a potato or little message telling them to be good. Icelanders have a beautiful tradition of giving books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spending the night reading. The holiday horrors all start thirteen days before Christmas when the Yule Lads start their reign of terror. … Gamlárskvöld / Nýársdagur - New Year's Eve / New Year's Day 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. Grýla lives in the mountains with her third husband, her thirteen children and a black cat. Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. One other big Jól custom is the coming of the 'Jólasveinarnir' or Jóltide Lads. 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. Christmas tree. This is also a big shopping day for last minute gifts, with stores remaining open until midnight. $12.99 $ 12. Christmas Islanders enjoy a tropical climate with a dry season from May to November, followed by a rainy season from December to April. The main Jól meal is 'Hangikjöt', a leg of roast lamb. Kæst Skata or putrefied skate is the fish that … At 6:00 pm Church bells ring to start the Christmas celebration. $4.00 shipping. One traditional story is that the Christmas cat will eat you unless you wear one piece of new clothing on Christmas day! 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 “Christmas Book Flood.” 8. Jóladagur is usually celebrated with the extended family. 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 … This custom is so deeply ingrained in the culture that it … At 6pm the Christmas celebrations usually start off with a delicious Christmas meal with your close family members. From a relatively young age Icelandic children are told the story of Grýla, the ogress living in the Icelandic mountains. Christmas Traditions in the Iceland – Þorláksmessa . The Jól (or Christmas) tree is usually decorated on this day. This is still done in a few places today! Happy/Merry Christmas/Jól in Icelandic is 'Gleðileg jól'. People also have big fireworks displays to bring in the New Year. But now TV is on all through the Christmas period.). 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. 1. 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 … There are many other fascinating facts about Iceland to discover too. In Iceland the traditional Christmas meal is roast lamb. Each Yuletide lad has a specific idiosyncrasy and will therefore behave in a particular manner. Bonfires have been lit on Gamlárskvöld since the late 1700s. 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. Ketkrókur - Meat Hooker Icelandic Christmas traditions are downright terrifying! They leave little presents for children in shoes placed on the windowsill. If you're… Iceland interesting facts: the flag Iceland Is The Most Peaceful Country In The World. The custom of giving books at Christmas in Iceland is called 'Jolabokaflod' or 'Jólabókaflóð' which translates as 'Christmas flood of books'! 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). This is the last day of Jól, celebrated with bonfires and Elfin dances. On TV. Iceland is home to the world’s oldest parliament. Sometimes called “snowflake bread”, Laufabraud is a traditional kind of Icelandic bread eaten during the Christmas season. The Christmas Eve book-giving tradition is the culmination of a months-long national literary celebration called jólabókaflóð or the "Christmas Book Flood." © 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! December 23rd, is the day on which he died. Old Icelandic folklore states that every Icelander must receive a new piece of clothing for Christmas or they will find themselves in mortal danger. This may have come from old Icelandic tradition, when a new day started at 6.00pm not midnight. Mistletoe’s not just for kissing. 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. Askasleikir - Bowl Licker Pottasleikir - Pot Licker Kertasníkir - Candle Beggar. 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. Children also traditionally receive a candle and sometimes a pack of cards. The Jól season consists of the following days: Þorláksmessa - St. Thorlakur's Day - December 23rd The Jólasveinar are thought of as playful imps or elves who like lots to eat and playing little tricks on people. On St. Thorlakur's Day, the main custom is eating of a simple meal of skata or skate. Aðfangadagur - Another Jól meal speciality is 'Laufabrauð' or leaf bread. (TV used to stop at about 5.00pm and restarted at 10.00pm! 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! Iceland is the oldest democracy in the w… Many of the magical traditions associated with New Year's Eve are also supposed to happen at Þrettándinn. Iceland is known for having some of the best Christmas celebrations in the world! Iceland is home to the very first parliament grounds in Europe. 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! Sometimes 'Rjúpa' (Rock Ptarmigan a gamebird) is also eaten. The folklore includes both mischievous pranksters who leave gifts during the night and monsters who eat disobedient children.. It was created out of goose feathers … Kæst Skata e. Putrefied Skate. Cows are meant to be able to talk, seals take on human form, the dead rise from their graves, and the Elves move house. Jólasveinar first came to Iceland in the 17th century as the sons of Grýla and Leppalúði, a couple of child-eating, bloodthirsty ogres!!! She is a dreadful character, described as part troll and part animal and the mother of 13 precocious boys (the Yule Lads). Skyrgámur - Skyr Gobbler (Skyr, an Icelandic yoghurt) Follow us on the following social networks and websites. 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. In the year … Christmas in Iceland Þorláksmessa - St. Thorlakur's Day - December 23rd. The tree is normally decorated on Þorláksmessa or early Christmas Eve. $12.50 $ 12. 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. From elves and trolls to glaciers and volcanoes, here are 20 fun Iceland facts that make it the incredibly cool country that it is. This is called 'sprengja út árið' or 'blowing out the year'. Christmas Tree Traditions Iceland became independent from the Kingdom of Denmark in 1918. In Iceland, there's a special Christmas tradition that involves a very special cat that roams the streets one time per year. Christmas traditions are remarkable around the world for their great variance, and Greenland is no exception. Here are 25 interesting things to learn about the Land of Fire and Ice that you may not have known before! The religiously observant and/or traditional Icelanders will attend … Iceland lies in the Arctic Region of Northern Europe. The horrible Icelandic Yule lads were a gruesome bunch of trolls that terrorized children and stole food from hungry peasants around Christmas. 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. Iceland's major Saint is 'heilagur Þorlákur Þórhallsson', or 'St. People then started to make Jól Trees from a central pole with branches attached to it and it was all painted green. Most Icelanders use real trees, as opposed to artificial ones. 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. 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! - www.whychristmas.com, Happy/Merry Christmas in lots more languages. Since 1944 Iceland is a republic. Aðfangadagur - Christmas Eve / Jól Eve Celebrations start at Iceland at 6.00pm on Jól Eve. The stories are directed at children and are used to scare them into good behaviour. Although Christmas is generally considered the most joyous of holidays, it does generate its share of stress. Stúfur - Itty Bitty 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 … This comes from the ancient winter solstice celebrations, that were taken over by the early Christians. During World War II, Iceland was occupied by British and US American troops. 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. The first artificial Christmas Tree wasn’t a tree at all. And there was their pet, the Icelandic Christmas cat. 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. Thorlakur Thorhallsson', the Bishop of Skálholt. They start going home on Christmas Day, with the last one leaving on Þrettándinn. Sundagarðar 2  â€¢  104 Reykjavík, Iceland, intriguing mixture of religious practice and traditional folklore, Other Christmas stories are rather bleak in nature. Plus some general information that can be useful for planning a trip. The Christmas Eve book-giving tradition is the culmination of a months-long national literary celebration called jólabókaflóð or the "Christmas Book Flood." Like in Finland, cemeteries are often lit up and decorated with Christmas lights over Christmas. The main Christmas celebration in Iceland begins promptly at 18:00 on Christmas Eve, December 24, in keeping with an old Catholic custom. It started during WWII when books weren't rationed and many other things were, so books made really good gifts. An enormous black cat prowls Iceland on Christmas Eve and eats anyone who doesn’t follow this simple rule. Icelandic children open their presents after the evening meal on Aðfangadagur. Þorláksmessa is celebrated 2 days before Christmas day on 23 rd of December. She can only capture children who misbehave but those who repent must be released. Jóladagur - Christmas Day / Jól Day Here are thirteen of the most common names of the Jólasveinar: Stekkjarstaur - Gimpy Presents might also be brought by Jólasveinn (Jól Man). The factors that are taking into consideration in the rank include safety, militarisations, ongoing conflicts, and security. 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). This is another day for visiting friends and family and eating lots more! It is traditional to have a star or crown on top of the tree. Hurðaskellir - Door Slammer Apart from shopping, there are also hot food and drinks, horse-drawn carriage rides, and live music to … This is the main day of Christmas in Iceland with celebrations typically starting around 6pm. Grýla $4.54 shipping. Christmas is a magical time spent with friends and family and often involves a lot of eating. Iceland Facts | Iceland Geography. Nowadays, there are evergreen trees grown on Iceland and people have evergreen Jól trees. 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). 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