The midwinter festival of Þorrablót was celebrated in the capital of Tórshavn in The Faroe Islands on Saturday, RÚV reports.
Although this midwinter feast was inspired by food traditions and pagan celebrations in medieval Iceland, “…there is really nothing that connects them to the present day feasts of the same name,” food historian Nanna Rögnvaldadóttir writes in Icelandic Food and Cookery. Instead, the festival was largely the creation of “…a restaurant owner in Reykjavík in the late 1950s—he thought there might be a market for the disappearing traditional Icelandic foods that had never been served in restaurants before.”
Ever since, Þorrablóts have been held annually all over Iceland, as well as by Icelanders living abroad. The celebration in Tórshavn, however, was organized by Faroese celebrants, in collaboration with an Icelandic brewery that is providing the seasonal Þorrablót beer for the event. Indeed, in the Faroes, Þorrablót is understood to have roots in Faroese traditions, as well as Icelandic ones.
In Iceland, a traditional Þorrablót spread includes hangokjöt, or smoked lamb, as well as a variety of preserved sour dishes, or súrmatur. Súrmatur, as Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir explains, “includes soured blood and liver pudding, ram testicles, sheep-head jelly, brisket and lundabaggi, a roll of secondary meats. Also eaten at Þorrablót is putrefied shark and buttered dried fish. A traditional type of bread served alongside the Þorri dinner is flatkaka, a special Icelandic rye flatbread.”
The Faroese feast was held at the restaurant Sirkus—which was, in fact, inspired by the beloved, former downtown Reykjavík venue of the same name—and served typical Icelandic Þorrablót food, as well as traditional Faroese dishes.