Easter in Iceland

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Easter is an interesting time in Iceland. It starts on Maundy Thursday (Skírdagur), which in 2017 falls on April 13th and ends Easter Monday (Annar í páskum) falling on April 17th. It’s a nice, long, 5 day 4 night weekend which many people use to escape to the countryside, or leave the country altogether. 

From legally enforced misery to more moderate times

Things have changed very much, but some traditions remain. Kind of.  For example, Maundy Thursday is a popular day to be confirmed. Religious confirmations are less and less common, and instead a secular confirmation is increasing where the confirmed vow to lead a moral life. 

Good Friday in Iceland is known as “föstudagurinn langi" or  “the long friday”.  Fun is illegal. Yes, illegal. This was a day of enforced misery. You were not allowed to do  virtually anything; no gambling, no dancing, no drinking, no large organised social gatherings etc… Not much remains of these strict rules, but some businesses will be closed or have reduced hours on Good Friday and Easter Sunday at the very least.

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Easter is supposed to be about Jesus, his death and subsequent resurrection. However, for many Icelanders these days, it’s less about Jesus and more about chocolate. Icelanders consume gargantuan amounts of chocolate. We have never seen any concrete numbers, but we imagine the consumption per capita to be enormous!

From Jesus to chocolate 

Easter eggs are also special in Iceland: they never come in boxes, and always come in plastic. They come with phrases and saying inside, like fortune cookies, or jokes, like Christmas crackers, or even joke sayings! They also come with little chicks stuck on top. 

The chocolate manufacturers in Iceland take filling easter eggs up very seriously. You won’t see a simple little bag of chocolate buttons for example; think pralines, liquorice, lollipops gummy bears, caramels, liquorice chocolate caramels and all manner of sugary, gooey delights! Its stuffed to the brim!

Easter Sunday celebrations look similar to Easter Sunday celebrations in other countries. There is egg decoration, painting, and parents hide eggs for their children to find (egg hunt) and there are often large family meals on Easter Sunday. Lamb is the fare of the day.

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Annar í páskum: the second day of Easter 

Easter Monday is a day of recovery from the overeating of the previous day. It is basically just a another day off, but who’s complaining?

A new light, a new time: adventure awaits!

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Easter is also a time to celebrate new life, and in Iceland at this time of year, it certainly feels like a lot is changing; the darkness is winter is far behind us and there is comfortably more than 12 hours of daylight. In fact on Easter Sunday there is a full 15 hours, 13 minutes and 42 seconds of daylight!

The new light and rising temperatures embolden us with a sense of adventure. The possibilities in winter are plenty, especially with our capabilities and expertise at Iceland Rovers, but summer offers us tremendous potential, and it’s practically on our doorstep!

Do you want to get off the beaten track and explore Iceland your own way? Iceland Rovers has got you covered! We offer a range of private super jeep tours, and if you don’t see exactly what you are looking for, just talk to us! We love designing custom itineraries!

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