Posted Dec 28, 2021 in
Christmas in Iceland is a special time with plenty of fascinating traditions. Here's all you need to know about the jolly season in the Land of Fire and Ice!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many, but what is spending Christmas in Iceland really like? In this article, we’ll explore Iceland’s festive traditions, from the somewhat familiar to the downright bizarre. We will also give you a little insight into how it feels to spend the holiday season in the ´Land of Fire and Ice´. Read on to find out all about Iceland’s winter festivities. We’ll be covering the following:
Christmas celebrations kick off in early December in Iceland. In fact, the official Christmas season runs from December 11th right through to January 6th. These days are marked by the comings and goings of Iceland’s Yule Lads. These mischievous characters are something akin to Santa Clauses… but more on that later!
Over the first few weeks of Christmas, Icelandic people enjoy getting out and about. There are social gatherings and shopping trips to enjoy. There are several things to do in Reykjavík and some other larger towns, from Christmas markets to ice rinks. Friends and colleagues get together for festive meals and drinks.
These thirteen Santas, or Yule Lads as they are known, hail from the mountainous area of North Iceland. They dwell in a cave along with their troll father and mother. Their mother Gryla is a scary character who chases and catches children to cook in her pot. Their father is a lazy so-and-so who is crotchety and likes to eat Gryla’s hot pots and sit around.
They also have a fearsome cat as a pet. Big and fat with long teeth, this scary Christmas cat also likes to hunt naughty children at Christmastime. The Yule Lads used to be a little scarier than they are today, too. But over the years, they have mellowed.
Christmas obviously falls in mid-winter in Iceland. This is a time of very short days and long, dark nights. Around the winter solstice, there will only be around four hours of daylight each day. With the sun just rising over the horizon before setting again and letting the stars come out to sparkle.