Winter feast traditions in Bolungarvík criticized Skip to content

Winter feast traditions in Bolungarvík criticized

A house wife and anthropology student who lives in Bolungarvík in Iceland’s Westfjords publicly criticized her town’s winter feast traditions of Thorrablót this week. The feast takes place tonight.

Only married or legally registered couples, widows and widowers are welcome to the feast, excluding singles and divorcees. The tradition was established decades ago, originally due to lack of space in the community center where the feast is held. RÚV reports.

Gudrún Soffía Huldudóttir, who has a partner, told RÚV that she finds this local tradition discriminating and that it is a rejection of the members of society that are divorced, have not found a partner or are single by choice.

“By excluding these people from the Thorrablót feast, they are in a way being excluded from society,” Huldudóttir said.

All women who attend the feast are obligated to wear the national costume regardless of their nationality; men are required to wear a dark suit. A Bolungarvík resident of Polish origin was not allowed to attend the feast in her own national costume.

Bolungarvík has about 1,000 inhabitants and the ambitious winter feast marks one of its major events of the year.

Thorrablót (“winter sacrifice”) is traditionally celebrated around Iceland and among Icelandic communities abroad at the beginning of the month Thorri, which begins on a Friday between January 19 and 25 and ends on a Saturday between February 18 and 24 according to the old Icelandic calendar.

This midwinter feast is a pagan tradition that survived Christianity and is an occasion for eating old-fashioned food, such as pickled ram testicles and rotten shark, and for drinking to excess.

Click here to read more about Thorrablót.

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