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Culture

Iceland Review 01.17

Iceland Review in Many Shapes

The first issue of Iceland Review in 2017 appeared as people were ringing in the new year. It has been sent to subscribers overseas and waits to be picked up by those traveling through Keflavík International Airport.

New Year's Eve in Reykjavík

Icelanders Bid Farewell to Christmas

January 6 is known as Þrettándinn or ‘the Thirteenth’ in Iceland. According to the Icelandic calendar, it marks the 13th and last day of Christmas—the first being Christmas Day—and also the day when the last of the 13 Yule Lad brothers, who come down from the mountains 13 days before Christmas,...

Fireworks Reykjavík

New Year Welcomed with a Blast

Icelanders celebrate the last day of the year with a fancy dinner, often turkey, and with fireworks at midnight. A special sketch comedy show about the year in review is shown on television and watched by almost the entire Icelandic nation.

Smoked Pork Still Popular at Christmas

In almost 50 percent of Icelandic homes (46.4 percent to be exact), a smoked rack of pork was served for dinner on Christmas Eve. The tradition—which is fairly new and under Danish influence—remains popular, although the ratio has dropped from 49.8 percent from last year.

Christmas

The Day of Relaxation

Today is Annar í jólum, or the ‘Second Day of Christmas.’ in Iceland After eating to excess on December 24 and 25, many families have leftovers for lunch, enjoy their gifts and relax on December 26.

Laufabrauð

Party with the Extended Family

Christmas Day in Iceland is usually celebrated with a luncheon with the extended family. The traditional meal is hangikjöt (smoked lamb) with laufabraud (‘leaf bread’) and a sweet béchamel sauce.

Icelandic Christmas decorations made from wool

Smoked Pork and Christmas Presents

Tonight is Christmas Eve. Christmas in Iceland officially begins when the bells of the Reykjavík Cathedral chime at 6 pm. By then families have gathered around the dinner table and afterwards they open presents and Christmas cards.

Skate

Stinking Skate and Shopping Fury

Today is the last day before Christmas, known as Þorláksmessa (‘The Mass of St. Þorlákur,’ Iceland’s patron saint). The day is celebrated by eating skata, putrefied (or fermented) skate, and buying the last Christmas presents.

Christmas presents opened.

Presentation on Icelandic Christmas Traditions

Saturday, December 17, Dr. Terry Gunnell, head of folkloristics at the University of Iceland, will give an illustrated presentation in English on the beliefs and traditions of Icelandic Christmas, past and present.

Hjartasteinn/Heartstone

Heartstone Actors Awarded in Morocco

The main actors in Icelandic coming-of-age film Heartstone (Hjartasteinn) by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, Baldur Einarsson and Blær Hinriksson, were both named Best Actor at the Marrakech International Film Festival on Saturday.

Christmas characters.

Christmas Characters Climb Walls

All the Icelandic Christmas characters will be on display at Reykjavík Art Museum, both at the Hafnarhús and Kjarvalsstaðir locations, December 2-January 6.

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