History & Traditions of Iceland

Iceland in July

Old Icelandic Calendar: Heyannir

Heyannir, or Hay Work, was the 10th month of the year, according to the Old Icelandic Calendar. It was also the 4th summer month. The month’s name describes...
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Midight Sun Iceland

The Midsummer month Sólmánuður

The midsummer month Sólmánuður, or Sun Month, began, as the name would suggest, during midsummer. Nordic and Northern European people used the Norse calendar until Christianity took over....
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The Raven at Skíðastaðir

One section of Jón Árnason’s Icelandic Legends deals with divine punishment. Those stories are treated somewhat differently and have a more serious content than the other stories about...
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The Watchman in Reykjavik

Vaktari, or watchman, was a job initially created between 1770 and 1780 in Reykjavík. It was at the initiative of representatives of the New Enterprises company (Innréttingarnar). It...
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Icelandic Gingersnaps – Piparkökur

Most people know gingersnaps, biscuits flavored with ginger and other spices, such as cinnamon, molasses, and clove. The Northern European version, or Icelandic gingersnaps, piparkökur (pepper cookies), is...
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Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

Iceland has many folktales about Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Many deals with elves that, for some reason, use that time to be out and about. Some...
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Famous and not-so-famous Icelanders

Can you mention some famous Icelanders? Björk obviously. Chess master Bobby Fischer was an Icelander for the last years of his life. Damon Albarn, the singer of Blur,...
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Vikings in Iceland

As you probably know, Iceland was settled by Nordic Vikings in the 9th century.  Icelanders are very proud of their heritage, even if it is sometimes violent. The...
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The Yule Party Month Ýlir

The Yule Party Month ýlir is the second winter month of the Old Icelandic Calendar. It starts on a Monday sometime between November 20th and 27th. In Snorra-Edda,...
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Christmas Gift of the Year

Icelanders are a bit of a fad nation. When something new comes on the market, everyone must have it. You want to be as cool as the next...
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