Easter Egg Price Wars Result in Modest Discounts

A broken Icelandic easter egg and the candy inside it.

The price of Easter eggs has gone down in the last couple of weeks as stores compete with pricing strategies. The cheapest chocolate treats can be found in Bónus, Extra and Krónan, while the most expensive eggs are in 10-11, Iceland and Krambúðin, Vísir reports.

In Iceland, Easter eggs are topped with a figurine, most often a yellow chick, and filled with candy along with a piece of paper with a proverb written on it. They are a ubiquitous part of Easter festivities among Icelandic families.

Big difference between stores

The Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASI) has reviewed the prices of Easter eggs and found that the lowest prices have gone done by a few percentage points. On March 8, Heimkaup lowered their prices, with Extra, Bónus and Króna following suit.

The three stores where prices remain unusually high are 10-11, where the Easter eggs cost on average a whopping 40% more than the lowest prices, and Iceland and Krambúðin with a 38% and 37% deviation respectively. The biggest difference was on the price of a small “lava egg” from candy company Góa, which cost ISK 140 [$1, €0.90] in Krónan, but ISK 249 [$1.81, €1.70] in 10-11.

Bónus leads the way

Bónus consistently had the lowest prices, according to ASI’s review. Of the 34 Easter eggs under review in Bónus, the store sold 28 of them at the lowest price. Extra sold 34 of their 48 eggs at the lowest price, while Heimkaup sold 32 of the 46 eggs reviewed at the lowest price.

Rokk í Reyjavík Turns 40

It’s been forty years since Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s seminal documentary Rokk Í Reykjavík (Rock in Reykjavík) was first broadcast, RÚV reports.

The film celebrates the vibrant punk and new wave scene of Iceland’s capital in the early 80s (it was shot in 1981) and features live performances and interviews with 19 bands and artists, most famously a 16-year-old Björk, performing in her first serious band, Tappi Tíkarrass, as well as Bubbi Morthens in his band Egó, and the all-women quartet Grýlunar, headed by Ragga Gísladóttir.

As part of this weekend’s Easter programming, the Rás 2 radio program Rokkland will be dedicated to Rokk í Reykjavík on Easter Sunday. The channel’s Monday programming on the Easter Monday holiday will include interviews discussing the film’s impact and importance.

You can listen to the full soundtrack on YouTube here.

Icelanders Seek Sunny Climes Over Easter

Tenerife elderly senior Spain

Between 600 and 700 arrivals and departures are expected at Keflavík airport over the Easter holiday, counting from last Saturday to Monday. Vísir reports that this is a significant increase over last year, when there were only about 100 arrivals and departures during the same timeframe.

Unsurprisingly, given the drizzly skies and temperatures hovering between 6-12°C [43-54°F] forecast in the capital over the weekend, the most popular destinations have been sunny beach destinations. City break vacation packages have also been in high demand.

As a result of the holiday flight frenzy, all the parking lots at Keflavík airport were filled as of Wednesday. Even though traffic out of the capital may now be considerably lighter than in recent years, those taking staycations within Iceland this Easter should nonetheless expect to encounter a fair amount of traffic heading north and to the Westfjords, as well as along Suðurlandsvegur heading toward the cottage communities in South Iceland.

A Different Kind of Ash Wednesday

Today marks Ash Wednesday, a holiday celebrated across Iceland during the Lent season. Ash Wednesday traditions in Iceland are somewhat similar to Hallowe’en traditions in North America. Children in Iceland dress up in costumes for the holiday and sing to receive candy. This year, Icelandic health authorities have issued guidelines for celebrating the holiday while keeping infection prevention in mind.

There are records of Ash Wednesday celebrations in Iceland as early as the beginning of the 19th century. Kids have been dressing up for the holiday for most of the 20th century. RÚV footage from 1967 shows children in Akureyri in costume and playing traditional games on the holiday.

Health authorities’ guidelines include the following:

  • Celebrating the holiday within your close environment: at home, in school, at children’s recreational centres and community centres.
  • Dressing up regardless of your age to bring some fun into your daily routine.
  • Reviving old traditions like öskudagspokar, a game involving pinning small bags on others, as well as the barrel game (seen in the 1967 video linked above) while keeping infection prevention in mind.
  • If children will go from house to house in search of candy, authorities encourage parents to check in advance where children will be welcomed.
  • Those giving candy are encouraged to only distribute candy that is individually wrapped.

President of Iceland Encourages Nation to Remain Hopeful in Easter Address

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson.

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson delivered an Easter address to the nation on Sunday, encouraging Icelanders to be hopeful in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The address was broadcasted live on Icelandic television and radio.

“Virus, quarantine, a ban on public gatherings! Who would have thought, at the start of this year, that we would soon be faced with a problem of this kind?” the President stated in his address. “Yet here we are. And we must take what comes.” He pointed to the message of hope that the Easter holiday’ brings as inspiration to keep a positive outlook in the face of adversity.

Guðni also expressed his sympathy to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, as well as to all those who had been affected, and those who are at high risk of falling ill. He praised the trio leading Iceland’s response to the pandemic – Director of Health Alma Möller, Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason, and Chief Superintendent Víðir Reynisson – and encouraged Icelanders to continue to heed their guidance to slow the spread of the virus.

“Our solidarity will continue to be tested. Our tenacity will continue to be tested – especially that of those who are in the front line. No doubt greater difficulties lie in store, before we are able to celebrate victory. But we shall be victorious,” the President stated. “We have seen worse times – and we will see better times.”

The full address is available in English on the official website of the presidency.

With More Icelanders at Home, Chocolate Easter Eggs Sell Out

Icelandic Easter eggs

Icelanders may be sheltering at home, avoiding travel and large family gatherings this Easter, but that hasn’t reduced demand for the country’s beloved chocolate Easter eggs – if anything, it’s only increased it, says Auðjón Guðmundsson, CEO of chocolate company Nói Síríus. Vísir reports that with more Icelanders in the country for the holiday this year, there has been a run on the chocolate egg supply the like of which hasn’t been seen in quite some time.

Indeed, in the lead-up to the holiday, the country’s chocolatiers anticipated that many of their popular páskaegg varieties would sell out this year and encouraged Icelanders to buy their favourite kind early to ensure they weren’t disappointed come Easter Sunday. “We’re working longer and…doing everything we can for Icelanders,” Auðjón told mbl.is last week. “It’s a shame when people don’t get their Easter egg.”

As a matter of fact, Nói Síríus produced more than 800,000 chocolate Easter eggs this year, including several new varieties with different kinds of candy fillings. Even so, several varieties have sold out, leading to the sense that there was a shortage of chocolate eggs this year.

“Neither we nor others were prepared for this situation. It didn’t help that production was a lot more difficult and slower due to the gathering ban,” explained Auðjón. “We tried everything and were pretty pleased with how much we managed to get out in the end. But of course, it’s just wishful thinking that everyone would get their favourite egg – that’s just how it is.”

Easter is usually a popular time for Icelanders to travel outside of the country, something that obviously wasn’t possible this year. Moreover, many Icelanders based abroad have recently returned to the country amidst the COVID-19 crisis. “Without having the exact figures, I would expect that it’s the increased number of Icelanders in the country that played a big part in this,” said Auðjón, referring to the perceived shortage.

The chocolatier also realises what a charmed position he and those in his industry are in right now. It’s difficult to complain about the enormous demand for Easter eggs, he says, at a time when income in so many other industries has evaporated. “We can only be grateful for this. Although, of course, we’d have wanted everyone to get the egg they wanted.”

Advise Against Domestic Travel This Easter: “Don’t Do It”

Chief Superintendent Víðir Reynisson and Director of the National University Hospital of Iceland Páll Matthíasson have advised against domestic travel this Easter, RÚV reports. The more travellers on the road, the higher the risk of accidents, which could increase the stress on an already strained healthcare system.

Won’t hesitate to take action

During a daily press briefing yesterday, Chief Superintendent Víðir Reynisson encouraged residents to stay at home during Easter – a popular travel weekend in Iceland – as opposed to spending a long weekend at countryside cottages. Speaking anecdotally, Víðir mentioned that a few of his snowmobiling friends had agreed to stay put this Easter and make do with merely “polishing their vehicles” over the holidays. “We will not, however, hesitate to take action,” Víðir said, revealing that the authorities were considering a ban on cottage trips. Other Nordic countries have taken similar action.

Although the latest figures on COVID-19 are a cause for optimism, Víðir stressed that it was important to avoid complacency. The achievements of the past few days were the result of strict measures. Víðir went on to compare the epidemic to a long-distance race that was half-finished. “The coming days will be a test of our collective endurance.”

Avoiding other major accidents

Páll Matthíasson, Director of the National University Hospital of Iceland, emphasised the importance of shielding the hospital from major accidents, as the healthcare system was already under considerable strain. All available energy was focused on the epidemic. Having heard that many residents were planning trips to the countryside to spend the holidays in cottages, Páll responded: “That’s a bad idea. Don’t do it.”

Vulnerable healthcare areas

As outlined during the press briefing, there are several reasons why the authorities recommend residents stay at home this Easter: if individuals gather in the countryside in high numbers, it could put significant stress on vulnerable rural healthcare areas; furthermore, there is the risk of carelessness in new environments. Residents have learned to eschew handshaking and respect the so-called two-metre rule (social distancing), but such behaviours could quickly be unlearned in cottages.

Víðir concluded by saying that the authorities would not hesitate to take action, emphasising that the coronavirus has an incubation period of 7 to 14 days. If action needed to be taken, it would likely occur over the next few days: “We are greatly worried; we’re not out of the woods yet.”