The holiday season is one of the most celebrated throughout Iceland. While some usual activities may not be possible this year due to the pandemic, Reykjavík is still hosting an array of traditions for everyone to enjoy – check them out below!
Christmas in Reykjavík
This Advent, 200,000 lights are illuminating the city of Reykjavík and dressing the city into its beautiful Christmas costume. To raise everyone’s spirits, Reykjavík increased the number of lights from previous years to make the city even brighter this season! Plus, Icelanders can attend Christmas markets in Hjartatorg or Austurstræti and see the Oslo tree at Austurvellir after the first Sunday in Advent. The Oslo Christmas tree is a yearly donation from the city of Oslo, Norway to the city of Reykjavik, and is lit at the end of November or first of December to mark the start of the holiday season.
Experience Christmas in Reykjavík from your Own Home
“Your Friend in Reykjavík” is offering an online walking tour through the Reykjavík city center throughout this holiday season so anyone around the world can experience the magic of winter in Iceland. The walking tour will showcase the festive streets of Reykjavík, as well as its historical traditions, including the Yule Lads and the Christmas Cat stories. See how you can join the tour here.
The Christmas Cat
Iceland has their beloved Christmas traditions, including folklore like the Christmas Cat. Among the best-known Icelandic Christmas creatures, the Christmas Cat is a humongous animal, as described in this popular poem by Jóhannes úr Kötlum, well known to people of all ages in Iceland. During Christmas time in Iceland, families give warm clothing to each member of their household. According to legend, the Christmas Cat stalks the snowy countryside and gobbles up anyone not equipped for the cold and wintery weather. To avoid this fate, families encourage each other to be good in order to receive cozy, warm clothes. Learn more about the Christmas Cat here.
How will you be celebrating the holiday season this year? Let us know in the comments below!