Music & Art Jan 04, 2013

Thorrablot: Iceland’s Midwinter Celebration

Near the beginning of each year during the ancient Viking month of Thor, Iceland celebrates Thorrablot to commemorate the Norse god of Thunder. The Vikings once celebrated this mid-winter month with dancing, singing, drinking and merriment, and it continues to be celebrated to this day.

Traditionally, the menu consists of unusual culinary delicacies, including rotten shark’s meat (hákarl), boiled sheep’s head, (svið) and congealed sheep’s blood wrapped in a ram’s stomach (blóðmör). During the month of Thor in modern-day Iceland, these traditional delicacies can often be found on grocery store shelves and in restaurants.

Icelanders then wash down their meals with Brennivin, also known as “Black Death” – a potent schnapps made from potato and caraway.

After the Thorrablot feast, traditional songs, games and storytelling are accompanied by dancing – and in true Icelandic style, celebrations continue until the early hours of the morning!

Thorrablot begins on the first Friday after January 19 (the 13th week of winter), starting on January 25 this year. The feast is traditionally held at any time during the month of Thor, which lasts until February 22, 2013.