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Discovering Iceland, Part 2 of 2

2022-06-01
Lingua:English
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Several festivals are held in Iceland every year, including art festivals, and music and public camping events. Before Christmas began being celebrated in Iceland, the country’s largest festival of the year was held on the winter solstice, after which the hours of daylight became longer, bringing warmer weather. Christmas in Iceland is a special time, attracting many travelers. At this time, you can witness a beautiful blanket of fresh white snow covering the country’s majestic landscape, and the amazing Northern Lights above.

Major music festivals include the Sónar Reykjavík musical event in February, the Secret Solstice festival in June, and the Airwaves music festival in November, which mostly features pop music. Outdoor camping festivals are also popular in Iceland, the most significant of which is held during the last weekend of July or the first weekend of August.

The soothing music of the traditional Icelandic zither called the langspil plays an important role in the Siglufjörður Folk Music Festival held each year in July. The box-shaped Icelandic fiddle is another traditional musical instrument. Icelandic folk music has a long history, with traditional songs being traced back to the 14th century. Most of it is accompanied by the traditional langspil and fiddle. Icelandic folk dances, which complement folk songs, are mostly circle and partner dances.

The national dress, called the Peysuföt, is a popular traditional costume for Icelandic women. Since the 19th century, a black jacket, white shirt, and black knee-breeches have comprised the national costume for men, and are usually worn together with a pair of horizontally striped or solid-colored white socks.

The Icelandic language is a North Germanic language descended from Old Norse that has remained comparatively unchanged for centuries. According to Icelandic folklore, huldufólks (hidden people), or álfhól (elves), live in a parallel universe alongside humans. Some holiday traditions in Iceland involve these other-worldly beings too.

The Icelanders place great value on family. Happy children will most likely grow up to be happy adults, and perhaps this is one of the reasons that the country ranked 4th on the 2021 world’s happiest countries list. For decades children in Iceland have been partaking in Puffling Patrol, an annual operation to rescue baby puffins in the Westman Islands.

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