January 6 marks the end of the Christmas season in Iceland, celebrated with bonfires and Elfin dances. Unlike most cultures, Iceland’s Yuletide season lasts 13 days rather than 12. This holiday, known in Iceland as ‘Þrettándinn,’ includes several magical events from Icelandic folklore.
Icelanders celebrate the last day of Yule in a similar way to New Year’s Eve. Festive dinners, evening bonfires, torch-lit parades and leftover fireworks contribute to a festive atmosphere in which friends and families celebrate the Twelfth Night.
The last day of Yule also marks the 13th Christmas lad’s return to the mountains to join his 12 counterparts.
Legend has it that cows are able to talk, seals take on human form, the dead rise from their graves, and elves are on the move on the Twelfth Night – plus, supernatural beings such as elf queens and kings often join in with song and dance!