A WEEK FILLED WITH ICELANDIC TRADITIONS

This week is a busy one in Iceland. Today starts the celebrations of three quirky Icelandic holidays filled with traditions, indulgence and innocent fun.

 

BOLLUDAGUR – BUN DAY

First things first; the week starts with Bolludagur or Bun day. Yes, we have a holiday named after a delicious chocolate glazed cream puff. Bolludagur always falls on a Monday six weeks prior to Easter and the tradition came to Iceland from Norway and Denmark. It marks the start of Lent.

Lent being the time for fasting, what is better than to stuff your face with puff pastry buns filled with jam and whipped cream, topped with chocolate glaze before it all starts?

Traditionally local families will bake their own buns. Naturally, you will also find all sorts of buns in bakeries and grocery stores with a variety of fillings and toppings.

Another interesting tradition associated with Bolludagur, is that kindergarten children make wooden decorated paddles which they use to spank their parents with.  On the morning of Bolludagur, while yelling ‘Bolla, bolla, bolla’, the kids chase their parents in order to get a bun in return. A quite lovely tradition for us parents.. say no more.

 

SPRENGIDAGUR

Sprengidagur is the day before Lent and the second day of overindulgence.
On Sprengidagur it is custom to eat a Lentil Soup or stew accompanied by salted lamb meat, potatoes, and other root vegetables. This dish is called ‘Saltkjöt og Baunir’ and is indeed, very savory and filling. Although Icelanders don’t celebrate Lent by fasting anymore, the tradition of feasting Saltkjöt og Baunir on Sprengidagur is still very much alive.

 

ÖSKUDAGUR – ASH WEDNESDAY

Lastly, the Icelandic tradition associated with this day is a bit strange. Young women would try and pin small pouches filled with ash onto the boy they fancied without them noticing.

Today, however, Ash Wednesday has turned into more of a Halloween. Children will dress up in costumes and walk between stores or houses and sing hoping to receive candies in return.

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So now you know why you’ll see costumed children run between stores singing.  Also, as most of us will be experiencing a mild case of food coma, we may seem a bit dazed. Join us in celebrating these traditions!

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