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The Odds And Ends Of Iceland

Last updated: Jan 16th, 2024


Volcanoes, glaciers, renewable energy, the Northern Lights, and stunning landscapes, Iceland is full of tales and wonders that are out of this world! Don’t be surprised to hear locals talk about a hidden population of elves, or the excuse to have a day of eating cream buns (there’s no harm in having a cheat day!). We will be discovering the myths and legends about this extraordinary country.

So lets dive into some of the odds and ends of Iceland.

Is There A Breeze Or Is It A Bit Windy?

Just as you thought languages couldn’t get any more complicated, the Icelandic language has 156 words to describe the wind. And here are just a few of them:

Vindur- Wind

Fárvidri- Hurricane Strength

Andvari- Light Air

Kaldi- Fresh breeze

Hvass- Windy

Beer And Buns?

After a ban on beer lasting 74 years the 1st of March is the day we celebrate beer in Iceland. The residents believed that beer tempted young people to drink heavy amounts of alcohol, and therefore banned beer in the country. But it wasn’t long until people discovered the enjoyment of beer abroad, and the ban was lifted by the government in 1989, which is now known as Beer Day.

And we also have Bun Day, also known as Bolludagur! This is the first of 3 days eating treats, where locals bake cream buns for people to enjoy. But there is a catch, you must earn the buns by tapping someone with a wand and shouting “Bolla! Bolla! Bolla!” and your bun will be earnt. There is nothing wrong with a little sweet treat, as the average cream buns consumed on this day is one million! And that’s not including the buns baked!

No Dogs Allowed

When visiting Iceland, it is rare that you will see a dog with its owner walking the streets. In the 1980’s Icelanders were obsessed with the idea of dogs passing on diseases. To this day the residents of Iceland still don’t keep dogs, unless it is for working on a farm.

TV Will Turn Your Brain To Mush

Up until the 1980’s it was believed in Iceland that at least one day a week families should sit around a table together and socialise. So, Thursdays was the designated day that people could not watch TV. And not only Thursdays, but the whole month of July had a rule of no TV, as people should be outside enjoying the fresh air. Why wouldn’t you want to be outside in Iceland during the summer? Its daylight for 24 hours!

Mcdonalds Who?

Iceland is one of the only countries in the world who has been untouched by the McDonald’s franchise. In 2008 Iceland had a financial crash causing the only McDonalds restaurant to leave Reykjavik. As McDonald’s left Iceland a resident bought the last happy meal which is now in a glass cabinet on display in Snotra House, Southern Iceland. And guess what? It still looks as good as it was 15 years ago!

The Icelandic Horse

The Icelandic Horse is a breed of horse that has been living since the Viking times and is quite sacred to Iceland. Similar to no dogs, Iceland is free from hoof and mouth disease, so Icelandic horses are not allowed to leave the country to save any diseases entering the country. No other breed is allowed to enter Iceland as the species are kept pure bred, which is why if a horse leaves the country, it will not be allowed to enter back in.

Yule Lads- Naughty Or Nice

Can you imagine not one, but 13 Santa Clauses at Christmas! Also known as the “Yule Lads”, each Santa Clause visits the children of Iceland on the 13-day countdown to Christmas. Children will leave their shoes on the windowsill and if they have been good, they will wake up to a shoe full of sweets. If they have been naughty, then it’s rotten potatoes to fill the shoes!

We Don’t Mess With The Elves

Now this is when things get serious, and the Icelanders are very serious when it comes to this myth. If you have seen the Eurovision Song Contest film with Will Ferrell, then you are bound to know what we are talking about when we mention the word Elves! Also known as the hidden people, more than 50% of Icelanders believe in elves. The belief is so extreme that the plans for building a bypass were cancelled as building a road on elves territory can result in terrible consequences. So, we now know that elves pretty much own Iceland and we don’t mess with them!

Burgers And Births

Take a trip to the Hamborgarafabrikkan, and you could be celebrating the population of Iceland while eating your dinner! The population count does not include elves, but you can celebrate with a burger and listen to the bell ring as soon as the number on the sign increases.

The Sea Stacks

Legend says that the sea stacks of Reynisdranger are the galleons of 3 trolls. The trolls tried to drag a ship back to land, however they were too late, and daylight turned all 3 into stone, forming the stacks of Reynisdranger. You can visit the stacks at Reynisfjara beach, known for its black sands, near the town of Vik.

Þetta Reddast

The same as Hakuna Matata, it simply means no worries. Iceland’s slogan þetta Reddast is their motto to live every day positively to improve their mentality and wellbeing. Icelander believes that any problems they face and no matter how big the problem is, there is always a solution to it.

And There We Have It!

Iceland’s icebreakers and every little detail to know before your visit! You will be hunting for Elves, finding the footprints of trolls, and be greeted with þetta Reddast. Iceland is bursting with exciting facts, wonderous geography, and breath-taking landscapes. It really is a country that can’t be missed.

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