Iceland Says Goodbye to Christmas Skip to content

Iceland Says Goodbye to Christmas

Bonfires were held in towns across Iceland yesterday, on Threttándinn, the last day of Christmas according to the Icelandic calendar. Through bonfires, Christmas is symbolically “burnt up,” much like the bonfires on New Year’s Eve that are meant to “burn up” the old year.

The elf king and queen at a bonfire in Reykjavík on the last day of Christmas in 2008. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.

According to folk stories, the borders between the world of humans and the hidden world become blurry on Threttándinn and elves, trolls and other magical beings come out from their hiding places to interact with people, sometimes with dangerous consequences.

Some people dress up as mythical creatures, the Yule Lads or their ogre parents Grýla and Leppalúdi on Threttándinn, like one couple spotted by a Morgunbladid journalist at the Threttándinn bonfire in Mosfellsbaer yesterday.

Click here to watch an audio slideshow of a Threttándinn bonfire last year.

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