Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Christmas has arrived in Iceland!


Saturday the 27th November was a busy day for Icelanders, for a start there was the constitutional election happening, plus the day also signified the beginning of Advent which meant that there were plenty of Christmas festivities to attend.

The constitution of Iceland is really a hand me down from Denmark, the current constitution is from 1944, whilst there have been some changes over the years it has not really been overhauled...so the government decided to be completely democratic and invite citizens to nominate themselves for candidacy and then up to 31 elected citizens would rewrite the constitution.  This idea proved to be so popular that over 500 nominated,  which meant that the public had to select 25 candidates from this 500 whom they thought would be best for the role.  However I think for many this was a monumental task and the responsibility of choosing overwhelming and as voting isn't compulsory in Iceland there were lower than usual turnouts at the polling stations, only about 36% cast a vote compared to the usual 80% who normally turn out for the general elections.

Saturday was also the start of Advent and this meant Christmas lights and decorations could legally come out in full force. The days are getting shorter, dawn is now around 9.30am, dusk is at 4.30pm, with the sun not fully up until nearly 11am and then setting at around 3.20pm.  Icelanders counteract this darkness by lighting up their towns, soon just about every house will have some sort of Christmas lighting and decorations happening, especially at Sigga's.  So on Saturday in the old part of town, where I am, there were markets and stalls/shops open, full of Chrissy decor stuff plus you could grab some homemade soup and hot chocolate to keep you warm as you wandered around outside in the -7 weather.  The hot chocolate was the best, it is made with real chocolate and cream...not any of your run of the mill powdered stuff here...absolutely delicious.

 This photo was taken at 4.30pm

 So at around 3.30pm as it started to get dark, the town Christmas tree lights were turned on as they were in many places across Iceland, crowds of people turned up for this event, there were children singing and Santa's popping in for a visit... did you know that there are no fewer than 13 Santas or Yuletide Lads in Iceland and they are all rather mischievious.

 They arrive one at a time from the 12 Dec and leave one by one up to the 6th Jan which signifies the end of the traditional Christmas Season.

This video is of the Sauðárkrókur celebrations.


  1. A new shop opened up at Hillary's and it's a chocolate shop and they sell the same yummy hot chocolate...no powdered stuff!

  2. This was fantastic! Thank you for the video - I loved the children singing in their Lopapesas and the excited countdown to the lighting of the tree.... now tell me how you got that great photo presentation? I loved all of it :)

  3. Really nice Vicki, am in agreement with TS great video!

  4. Thank you Vicki, It made me homesick to see those videos. I'll try to start the dec's soon. Cheers to all.

  5. Thanks everyone,
    TS: the video program is imovie the one that comes with a mac computer. The program has templates to use although there is room for ones own expression...but I am just playing and learning as I go along.

    I presume Anon is you Unnur...you will be back here before you know it. xx