“Bolla, bolla, bolla,” is the wakeup call for parents on the morning of Bolludagur (‘Bun Day’ or ‘Cream Puff Day’), followed by encouraging spanks.
Photo: Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir/Iceland Review.
Their kids have spent hours and hours decorating their Bun Day paddles at school; according to tradition, they will get one cream-filled bun on Bun Day for every time they manage to spank their parents with their paddles.
The Christian tradition of celebrating Bun Day seven weeks before Easter (between February 2 and March 8, this year on February 11) traveled to Iceland from Denmark in the 19th century.
In many other countries the day is known as Collop Monday and does not have anything to do with eating buns.
The spanking tradition may originally be an Ash Wednesday tradition or be related to Catholic priests sprinkling their congregation with water at the beginning of Lent using special wands.
The buns eaten on Bun Day are very similar to profiteroles, made from choux pastry and are rather tricky to make (click here for the recipe).
For challenged bakers, readymade choux buns can be bought in most bakeries and grocery stores, with or without icing and filling.
Bun Day is followed by Sprengidagur, the Icelandic answer to Shrove Tuesday. It means ‘Bursting Day’ and the motto is to eat salted meat and bean stew until you burst.
Then comes Öskudagur, or Ash Wednesday, when children dress up in fancy costumes and sing for candy in stores and companies across Iceland.