Today is Ash Wednesday, Iceland’s answer to Halloween. Many elementary schools give children the day off so that they can dress up in fancy costumes and head downtown to sing for candy at businesses.
Ash Wednesday (öskudagur, in Icelandic) is preceded by Cream Puff Day (or Bun Day; bolludagur) and Bursting Day (sprengidagur), which are all held in relation with lent.
Although Ash Wednesday is not originally an Icelandic tradition, the tradition to hang bags filled with ash on people’s backs without them noticing is uniquely Icelandic.
The IR office gets quite a few visitors on Ash Wednesday; the video was shot by Páll Kjartansson earlier today.
Click here to read more about these traditions.