Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Öskudagur (Ash Wednesday)

Religion here is mainly Lutheran and the lead up to lent is a little different to what I have experienced before...coming from a very lapsed Catholic background...I sort of get the feeling that Icelanders really take nothing from the old Catholic tradition but the dates.

Monday was Bolludager...bun day...cream bun day to be precise...this is the day you can eat as many cream buns as you like without guilt.  These cream and chocolate buns are in every home and workplace, apparently the baker here in this little town made 6000 cream buns...2 per person...somebody had my share.   Children make wands or paddles to spank their parents and get a bun for every spank.   The wand or paddle is possibly a derivative of the Catholic priest sprinkling the congregation with holy water using an aspergillum.

Tuesday however is Sprengidagur or eat till you burst day....so after stuffing yourself with cream buns the day before, on Fat Tuesday you over indulge on salted lamb and beans....apparently have your fill before Lent fasting...however I don't think there is any Lent fasting here.  Bolludager and Spengidagur combined seem similar to Shrove Tuesday...pancake day...but also traditionally the last day you could eat meat on the Catholic calendar before Easter.

This leads me to Öskudagur or Ash Wednesday....in the Catholic tradition it is considered quite a solemn day of repentance and reflection and the start of fasting. However here it is like halloween, children dress up in costumes go into town to shops and sing for candy.   Traditionally in Iceland small cloth bags filled with ash were made and then pinned surreptitiously to the backs of as many people as possible....you had a good day if you came home with your back covered in bags....this later turned into something similar to Valentines day where it showed a girls interest in a boy...I don't think it is practiced much today.


1 comment:

  1. I think I'd like bun day...and of course they are all fat free...right?

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