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Feasts and Celebrations in Iceland : 

Feasts and Celebrations in Iceland

Februar – Mars is the Þorri Fest : 

Februar – Mars is the Þorri Fest Þorri is one of the old Icelandic months. The first day of Þorri is called Bóndadagur or "Husband's day", and is dedicated to men. In many family’s the women brings the men breakfast in bed on this day - just as the men will do on Konudagur - Woman's Day. Many women will give their husbands flowers as well. The tradition of a Þorri feast is an ancient one. It has its roots in old midwinter feasts, Þorrablót, which the advent of Christianity could not quite abolish, although the way in which it is celebrated has changed. This month falls on the coldest time of the winter, and therefore it is no surprise that Þorri has become a personification of King Winter. Some have suggested that the month is named after the legendary king who united Norway into one country. Others think it is derived from the name of the thunder-god Þór (Thor), and that this was his feast during the pre-Christian era in Iceland. The origin of the feast of Þorri, it is today a standard part of the Icelandic social calendar. The eating habits of the Icelandic nation have changed a lot in the last hundred years or so, and it is only during Þorri that many people will eat the old-fashioned food. As this feast takes place in the middle of winter, it is no surprise that most of the food served at the feasts is preserved in some way: by pickling in whey, salting, smoking, drying or putrefying. A typical Þorrablót takes place at any time during Þorri. It is advisable to hold it on a Friday or Saturday night, to give the participants time to recover from the effects of overeating and heavy drinking that goes with a good Þorrablót. The form the feast takes is similar everywhere, the indispensable ingredients being merrymaking and lots of food.

March – April Easter : 

March – April Easter We Icelanders often enjoy an Easter holiday that lasts longer than Christmas, since Monday Thursday (Skírdagur), Long Friday (Föstudagurinn Langi), Easter Sunday (Páskadagur ) and the following Monday (annar í Páskum) are all holidays, giving most people a five day holiday and students even longer. These days, the only real Easter food tradition is eating Easter eggs. About 3 weeks to a month before Easter, chocolate eggs of all sizes begin to appear in supermarkets, making it very difficult for parents to take their children along when they go shopping! These delicious eggs are filled with candy and there is also a strip of paper with a proverb or saying, somewhat like the ones you find in fortune cookies. Parents wake up the kids in the morning of Easter Sunday and give them Easter eggs. We have a lot of fun breaking the eggs. Our traditional family Easter meal consists of lamb. Dessert is often home-made ice-cream or pineapple fromage.

17. júní : 

17. júní Icelandic National Day: Þjóðhátíðardagurinn, the day of the nation's celebration), 17 June, is a holiday in Iceland.That celebrates the day in 1944 that Republic of Iceland (Lýðveldið Ísland) was formed. The date of 17 June was chosen because it is the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson a major figure of Icelandic culture and the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement. Today, Icelanders celebrate this holiday on a national scale. The celebration traditionally takes the form of a parade. After speeches and other official ties are over, a less formal celebration takes place with musicians entertaining the crowd, candy being devoured by children in huge quantities, and gas-filled balloons escaping their owners and flying to the sky.

Verslunarmannahelgin   Commerce Day : 

Verslunarmannahelgin   Commerce Day The first weekend in August is a bank holiday weekend. Festivals and events taking place all over Iceland. Thousands of Icelanders take advantage of the holiday by driving out into the wilderness, pitching tents and enjoying the fun. Large bonfires add yet more light to the long bright nights and entertainment includes music from Icelandic pop groups and local folk bands. Throughout the day there are plenty of activities and entertainment both outdoors and inside the big tents put up to provide shelter from the elements.Down in the Westmann Islands(vestmannaeyjar), off the south coast, the whole population of the main island Heimaey are joined by 5000 "mainlanders" in a camp up one of the valleys for three days of celebrating. Given that the sun at this time of year virtually never sets, it's one long party!There are also plenty of events organized in the towns for those who don't want to brave the great outdoors. If you're lucky enough to be in Iceland at this time, you'll know what to do and where to go and Icelanders will make sure you're welcome

Desember 23. Þorláksmessa - The Day of St. Thorlakur : 

Desember 23. Þorláksmessa - The Day of St. Thorlakur Þorlákur was a 12th century Icelandic bishop, who was revered as the patron saint of Iceland after his death in 1193. In past centuries fresh fish was a common food on Þorláksmessa in Iceland. The origins of the tradition of eating fish on Þorláksmessa is that this is the last day of the Catholic Christmas fast, and of course people weren't expected to eat meat on this day. The tradition continued after the country converted to Lutheranism, because this was a busy day, and food had to be quick and simple. The tradition of eating this peculiar and smelly food (it has a strong odor of ammonia) arose in the West Fjords. The best time for catching skate is in the late autumn, and the pickling and putrefying process takes a while to complete, so it would be ready and available around Christmas time. Therefore it was perfectly normal that skate would be served on Þorláksmessa. This tradition has slowly spread all over the country, and now there are many people who look as much forward to eating skate on Þorláksmessa. Skate is an odiferous food, but it doesn't taste anything like it smells. The reason for this putrefying business is that in fresh skate (much like in shark), there are chemicals that can be harmful when the fish is eaten fresh. At the skate lunch, two kinds of skate are served, one kind is salted and only slightly putrefied, the other salted and very putrefied. This is served in chunks, with boiled potatoes and a choice of two kinds of mör, the ordinary kind (melted sheep's tallow with burned bits of membrane - tastes better than it sounds), and hnoðmör (the same, just kneaded and allowed to go stale before eating

Christmas Eve : 

Christmas Eve Icelandic Christmas Many Icelanders celebrate Christmas throughout December, especially those who have children. In many homes there is a Christmas calendar, with little gifts for the children for every day from December 1st to Christmas Eve. Other children receive "shoe gifts" from the Yule lads for the last 13 nights before Yule. Advent lights and Advent candles. Many Icelanders use Advent lights to count down the weeks until Yule. Four candles are stuck in a wreath, and lit on the four Sundays before Christmas. The first Sunday one candle is lit, allowed to burn for a short while, and then put out. The next Sunday two candles are lit, and so on until Christmas Eve, when all the candles are lit and allowed to burn down. Many Icelanders also put Advent lights in their windows. These are electric lights set in a holder shaped like an inverted V, with candle shaped bulb holders with 7 lights. Walk past a retirement home in December, and you can expect to see Advent lights in every window.

Christmas Eve : 

Christmas Eve The Christmas holidays start on Christmas Eve (Aðfangadagur, literally "the day of stocking up"). Most people stop working at noon, others between one and three p.m. At six 'o'clock the festivities start. Many people attend a church service; others sit at home and listen to a service on the radio. The gifts are opened in the evening of Christmas Eve.  Christmas Day and Boxing Day are legal holidays, and people will use this time for being together and visiting with family and friends.  Between six and ten on Christmas Eve, the Icelandic TV-stations stop broadcasting, a tradition that goes back to the early days of Icelandic television.  Christmas isn't over just because Christmas Day and Boxing Day have passed. Christmas ere thirteen days long, and doesn't end until January 6th (12th Night). Instead of the usual New Year's Eve bonfires, some communities have a Last Day (Þrettándinn) of Christmas bonfire and fireworks show held on January 6th.

Icelandic Christmas food : 

Icelandic Christmas food Icelanders will use any occasion to eat and drink and celebrate. This is very apparent when Christmas starts approaching. We have adopted several Christmas or pre-Christmas traditions from other nations, especially ones that involve food and drink.   Jólahlaðborð = Christmas Buffet. Christmas-time in Iceland is very much a boon for restaurants and caterers. This buffet tradition is probably derived from the Scandinavian Julefrokost.   Jólaglögg. This is something people mostly do at work. Glögg is a Scandinavian term for hot spiced wine, and in Scandinavia and Germany it is a traditional warming winter drink. The Jólaglögg is something that happens shortly before Christmas, sometimes on the last workday before the Xmas holidays. Glögg can be a warming, refreshing drink, made with red wine and spices.

New Year's celebrations in Iceland. : 

New Year's celebrations in Iceland. Icelanders celebrate the coming of the new year with bonfires and fireworks. Unlike many other countries, where the use of fireworks is restricted, everyone in Iceland has access to firecrackers and rockets - and it shows! Just as the family have recovered from the rich and heavy Christmas food, 'round comes New Year's Eve, and another delicious meal. After dinner, we go to the bonfire. Icelanders like to say 'goodbye' to the old year and 'welcome' to the New Year with a bonfire. After attending the bonfire, we go home and watch the "Áramótaskaup". This is a humorous TV revue that pokes fun at the events of the past year. At midnight, we go outside and shoot rockets and firecrackers and enjoy watching them explode

Traditional Icelandic food recipes : 

Traditional Icelandic food recipes

Hrísgrjónagrautur - Rice Pudding : 

Hrísgrjónagrautur - Rice Pudding " This pudding is sometimes jokingly called Steingrímur", after a former prime minister of Iceland. Apparently it's his favorite food. This lovely pudding is served for lunch or dinner all kids love. This is a cheap, nourishing, tasty meal. At Christmas, we have a small serving of rice pudding before the main meal. Mother hides a peeled almond in the pudding and we each choose one bowl. The person who finds the almond gets a small gift, typically some chocolate Cook the rice in the water until it's almost completely absorbed. Add the milk and lower the heat to simmer. Continue cooking until the rice is tender (the whole process takes about an hour). Add salt and serve with cinnamon sugar. Cinnamon sugar: Mix together about 1/4 cup of sugar and about 2 tsp. of cinnamon.) cook a handful of raisins with the rice for a few minutes before serving, for an authentic, old-fashioned "rúsínugrautur" (raisin' pudding)

Fiskisúpa - Fish soup : 

Fiskisúpa - Fish soup We love delicious fish soup. It's especially warming on a cold winter's evening. 400 – 500 g. white fish or 250 g. white fish and 250 g. shrimp, lobster and/or scallops. Optional: broccoli, cauliflower, celery, chives, parsley optional: broccoli, cauliflower, celery, chives, parsley Dice the potatoes and onion and lightly fry in the oil (use a deep saucepan or soup pot). Add the water, fish bouillon, thyme, garlic and sliced sun-dried tomatoes*, and cook for approx. 10 minutes. Julienne the carrots and add to the soup. If you are using broccoli or cauliflower, slice broccoli and cut cauliflower into small florets and add with the carrots. Cook for approx. 5 minutes. If using, julienne the celery and cut broccoli heads into florets and add. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Cut the fish fillet(s) into strips (cut fillets across). Add fish and shellfish (if using) and cook until done - approx 5-7 minutes, depending on size and thickness. (If you are using scallops, let them cook for a maximum of 2 minutes only, as they will become as tough as old chewing gum if overcooked.) Add lemon juice. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with finely cut chives or small sprigs of parsley. Serve with crusty bread and perhaps a fresh salad.

Kjötsúpa - Traditional Icelandic Lamb soup : 

Kjötsúpa - Traditional Icelandic Lamb soup There is a recipe for this soup in almost every Icelandic home. The measurements are not meant to be taken too seriously, and should be varied according to taste. we have marked the absolutely necessary ingredients with (*). Cooking time: ca. 60 minutes, 10-15 minutes preparation. Serves 1 1/2 litre,Water, 500 g Lamb or Mutton,1/2 medium Onion, 100 g  white cabbage,  2 medium  Carrots, 1/2 dl  rice or rolled oats,  1/2 small Rutabaga cauliflower, divided sliced leeks , cubed  potatoes  Bring the water to boil. Rinse the meat with cold water and drop in the boiling water. Lower temperature to medium. Allow meat to cook for about 2-3 minutes. Skim and add salt. Cook for 30 minutes. Add rice/oats (if using). Cook over low temperature for 10 minutes. Add carrots, onion and cabbage, cauliflower, rutabaga, potatoes and leeks (if using). Cook for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Skim off fat before serving.   Serve the meat on a platter with some potatoes (if you cooked them in the soup, don't bother to remove them). Some people will eat the meat and potatoes first, others will cut them up and add to the soup. Some pointers: -for a more wholesome soup, use brown rice instead of white and cook with the meat the whole time. -if you can get freshly harvested organic potatoes, cook and eat them with the skin. -some cooks sauté the meat before cooking - it adds flavor to the soup. -you can make the soup with just bones, and serve as a starter. -try using powdered coriander and/or saffron in the soup - it adds a wonderful middle-eastern style flavor. -Some cooks use bouillon cubes/powder for added flavor, others rely on getting enough taste from the meat.

Ofnsteiktur fiskur – Fish casserole with onions : 

Ofnsteiktur fiskur – Fish casserole with onions This is a simple, easy, nourishing dish. You need: To do: Cut the fish into chunks and arrange in a greased casserole. Add salt. Sprinkle chopped onion over the fish. Sprinkle bread crumbs and cheese on top, and dot with small pieces of butter. Bake at 175-200°C for 20-30 minutes. Serve with cooked potatoes and a salad

Traditional Icelandic fish balls – Fiskibollur : 

Traditional Icelandic fish balls – Fiskibollur Fish balls are very popular in Iceland. Our kids love to eat fish-balls in pink sauce (see recipe below), mostly because of the color of the sauce You need 1 large fillet white fish (cod, haddock or seethe(coley) are traditional), skinned and de-boned Finely chop or grind the fish fillet and onion. Mix together in a bowl (or just throw both ingredients into a food processor and let it do the work). Add the dry ingredients, mixing well. Add the eggs and then the milk (the fish-dough should be just thick enough to stick together when you form it into balls). Form small balls. Fry in oil or butter over low heat, until done. Serve with fresh salad and boiled potatoes and cocktail sauce

Kokkteilsósa – Cocktail sauce : 

Kokkteilsósa – Cocktail sauce The favored condiment for French fries in Iceland is cocktail sauce. This versatile pink goo is also good with fried or broiled chicken, hot dogs, grilled sausages and fried fish. You neat Take 100 gr. sour cream and 100 gr. mayonnaise. If you are using both mayo and cream, stir separately and then mix. This is important and will help you avoid lumps in the sauce.  Add approx. 3 tblsp. Ketchup. Finally, add 1/2-1 tsp. sweet mustard

Pancakes – Pönnukökur : 

Pancakes – Pönnukökur For us, pancakes have always been connected with our grandmothers. These are quick and easy to make  You need. Take 1 cup flour, 1 medium egg (the original calls for two eggs - I prefer to use just one), a dash of baking soda and a dash of baking powder, 100 grams margarine/butter and some milk. These are the basic ingredients. I also add some essence of cardamom, lemon juice/lemon essence, or vanilla essence for taste.  To do: Take skillet or pancake pan and melt the butter in it. Allow to cool slightly. Mix up the dry ingredients and add some milk to make a thin paste. Add the egg(s). Add the margarine/butter (don't wipe or wash the skillet after melting the fat). Cooling the fat is important, because if it is too hot, the egg(s) will curdle and make lumps in the dough. Experiment with the thickness of the dough Heat the skillet over high heat and lower to medium. Pour on a portion of the dough, just enough to cover the pan, When the underside is golden brown, turn over and fry the other side. The pancakes should be thin - a proper Icelandic pancake is only about a millimeter thick! Stack the pancakes on a plate and sprinkle some sugar on top of each pancake to prevent them from sticking together.  Serving suggestions. Sprinkle with sugar and roll up or jam and jelly.

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