Icelanders Bid Farewell to Christmas

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Icelanders Bid Farewell to Christmas

Bericht  Sibbevader op wo 06 jan 2010, 15:59

Icelanders Bid Farewell to Christmas

January 6 is known as Threttándinn or “The Thirteenth” in Iceland. According to the Icelandic calendar, it marks the 13th and last day of Christmas—the first being Christmas Day—and also the day when the last of the 13 Yule Lad brothers, who come down from the mountains 13 days before Christmas, returns to his cave.

A bonfire in Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Bonfires and fireworks shows will be held in many locations around Iceland today.

In Reykjavík the Icelandic Touring Association (FÍ) will host a bonfire and a special children’s program in Grafarvogur, which includes a march with torches, music, song and other events. The festivities begin at 5 pm.

In Akureyri, north Iceland, the festivities will take place in Réttarhvammur at 7 pm. Yule Lads and other magical beings will be in attendance and singer Heimir Bjarni Ingimarsson and magician Einar will also entertain the crowd.

The event is organized by the local sports association Thór in cooperation with Bónus and Visit Akureyri. Thór has organzied Last Day of Christmas bonfires since 1925. Admission is free and all are welcome.

The purpose of the bonfire and the fireworks is to metaphorically “burn up Christmas” and mark the end of the festive season. Many people save some of the fireworks they bought before New Year’s Eve for Threttándinn to say their own private explosive goodbye to Christmas.

According to legend, the last day of Christmas is just as magical as the last day of the year. On this day supernatural beings, like elves and trolls, emerge from their hidden habitats and try to lure humans into their world.

Cows are also known to acquire supernatural powers on Threttándinn and speak in human tongue. But beware; those who try to listen to their discussions in the cow shed will lose their mind! Other folk stories tell the tales of seals shedding their skin and walking on dry land on this magical night.

In Christianity, the wise men are paid homage to on January 6.

Filmpje: http://www.icelandreview.com/icelandreview/upload/files/multimedia/multi-brenna_07.01.08.wmv

The Iceland Review

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