Winter Events in Reykjavik and Iceland
Wintertime in Iceland is a fun time. The island puts on its wintercoat and looks magnificant all dressed in white. Visit Iceland in wintertime is actually a good thing to do. Are you up for experiencing a awesome Arctic adventure? Would you like to take a Super Jeep glacier ride, see the amazing Northern Lights, take a dogsled ride, bath in a natural geothermal hot spring? If you are not up for excitement like that there are more quiet and relaxing things to do. In wintertime these are the events happening.
Young Art Festival
Young Art Festival (Unglist), has been an annual event in Reykjavik since 1992. This festival week is packed with a multitude of performers and spectators. The program consists of music, design, fashion, photography, paintings and theatre. The festival reflects current trends in young people’s art. Young art’s main purpose is to give all culture’s dark corners a chance to shine in the public spotlight. www.unglist.is
Iceland Airwaves Festival
Going strong since 1999, the Iceland Airwaves Festival is the world's northernmost international music festival. Held in Reykjavik, it features an exciting mix of both up-and-coming and long-established Icelandic bands and also presents the hottest new bands from the USA and Europe. This 3-day showcase of Iceland's alternative/indie musical talent (with a few international bands thrown in) attracts more visitors to Iceland than any other event. Crowds are thick with notepad-wielding journalists and talent scouts; when the bands are through, top DJs spin until dawn. Icelandair sponsors Airwaves and arranges special packages from Europe and America. Late October or begynning of November.
Christmas in Iceland
Christmas traditions in Iceland is worth the experience. The Icelandic Christmas culture is loaded with native old Icelandic traditions. Iceland is a real treat for children at Christmas when no less than 13 Santa Clauses (jólasveinn) come to town bearing food and gifts on Christmas Eve. Each of the santa clauses has its own name, character and role. Their parents are Grýla, a mean old woman who drags off naughty children, and Leppalúði, who is not as mean. There is also a tradition known as "Shoe in the Window" that begins on the evening of December first when all the children in Iceland place their best shoe in their bedroom window before they go to sleep. If' they have been good that day, they receive a special treat in their shoe from Santa Clause. This continues every day until Christmas. Other than these customs the holiday is celebrated in much the same way as elsewhere around the world with the exchange of gifts and a festive meal, often ptarmigan, a game bird, or smoked lamb, eaten on Christmas Eve.
The mass day of St. Thorlakur (Thorlaksmessa) is celebrated on 23rd of December. Shops are open until 23:30 and then close for three days during Christmas. Many attend midnight mass. The Christmas season lasts 26 days.
In Reykjavik the streets transform into a festive wonderland and there is certainly no shortage of Christmas markets to visit and to get you into the Christmas spirit offering Christmas magic for everyone.
Twelve Days of Christmas - Þrettándinn, January 6
This day marks the end of the Christmas season. Bonfires during Christmastime in IcelandThe Christmas holiday season ends on January 6, with a special celebration of the Twelfth Night. This is when elves and trolls come out and celebrate with the Icelanders, dancing and singing. On this day, the festivities of New Year's Eve (bonfires and firework show) are repeated in smaller extend all over Iceland.
Dark Music Days
Reykjavik's long winter nights are brightened up by Dark Music Days, a classical music festival organized by the Iceland Composer Society in collaboration with many of the country's top performers.
Icelanders celebrate the old feast of Thorrablot, with singing, dancing, and the consumption of traditional Viking food, topped off with brennivin (Icelandic spirit). Thorrablot, also known as the Mid-winter Feast, sees the capital of Reykjavik and her restaurants open up to crowds of thousands.
Food and Fun
For 4 days Reykjavík's best restaurants create special gourmet menus in some of the best restaurants in town, and compete for the Chef of the Year Award. Menus are made available to diners at a very reasonable fixed price (table reservations essential). In a televised competition, top international chefs are challenged to create dishes on the spot from purely Icelandic ingredients.
Winter Lights Festival
With the longest, darkest winter nights coming to an end, Reykjavik celebrate the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, with a multi-arts festival. Anything from fashion shows to figure skating to outdoor choral performances to belly-dancing troupes. Street theatre, music, dance are part of the celebration. Events for all the family will entertain visitors and locals alike and many shops, galleries and restaurants also join in the fun.
The Festival Art in the Light at Seyðisfjörður in East Iceland. February
The Festival Art in the Light is an annual festival taking place each February that celebrates the return of the sun after a long winter. The town of Seyðisfjörður turns off all of its lights and transforms the town and landscape into a brightly lit hub of activity.
Days of Overeating
Enjoy delicious cream and jelly buns on Monday which the Icelandic people refer to as Bolludagur (Buns Day), saltet meat and peas on Tuesday we call Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) an old custom where people throughout the country used to have great meat feast before the long friday fasting. Like the name suggests, overeating is not uncommon! On Wednesday, children dress up in costumes and walk store to store, earning candy by singing.
Bolludagur (Buns Day)
"Bun Day" is celebrated by eating cream puffs (bollur) in multiple varieties. In the morning children aim to catch their parents still in bed, and then beat them with colorfully decorated "bun wands" (bolluvondur). Parents are then obligated to give their children one cream puff for each blow received. Monday before Ash Wednesday.
Sprengidagur - Bursting Day
Sprengidagur. The name of this holiday translates to "bursting day" and is celebrated by eating salted meat and peas to the point of popping. Many restaurants participate. Day before Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday (Öskudagur)
Children dress in costume and traipse around town singing for candy. It's much like Halloween, and also a day for pranks. Seventh Wednesday before Easter.
Valentines Day is a day to express your love, and to celebrate the spirit of love. Surprise your partner with in a unusual way and take a trip to a romantic getaway in Iceland.
Skiing and Snowboarding in Iceland
There are many ski resorts in Iceland and it is actually a great idea to spend your winter there and try the ski areas.
Most of the ski resorts have Nordic skiing trails, different ski runs for beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders. Also there are ski lifts and electric lighting for the limited daylight during long winter nights. In moste places you can hire equipment if needed. But be sure to dress well for your winter adventure as it is hard to predict the weather in Iceland. Wearing a good ski jacket and trousers.