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Dang it, we missed Þrettándinn again


I have a thing about Iceland. Nobody can say if their present culture is ancient Northern Europe trapped in amber, or three hundred thousand blonde people abandoned on a rock in the North Atlantic to go mad. Bit of both, probably. Interesting either way.

Iceland’s version of Twelfth Night is called Þrettándinn, and it’s so much more than the day they take the tree down.

Tradition says it’s moving day for household fairies (moving out or moving in, either way you’d best be nice to them). If you wait at the crossroads, you might con some good stuff out of the fairies, too. Seals cast off their sealskin coats and dance, as naked ladies, on the beach. Water turns to wine.

It’s your last day to catch one of the Yule lads — the guys in the picture up top. The whole list is here . They arrive one by one at Christmas, and leave one by one. Last out is Kertasníkir the Candle Beggar.

Cows speak. In nonsense verse. In rhyming couplets. In Hebrew. Okay, I’m kind of leaning toward ‘abandoned on a rock in the North Atlantic to go mad’ now.

It’s a day of bonfires and fireworks. But — and this is the part I really think we should adopt — it’s a last celebratory hurrah!. You finish all the nice holiday food, drink up the liquor, burn up the candles, binge watch Downton on iPlayer.

Also, you take your Christmas tree down. No, we haven’t yet.


Comment from Poindexter
Time: January 7, 2016, 10:55 pm

Haven’t taken our tree down yet, either, but (a) it’s fake, so it’s not shedding needles or threatening spontaneous combustion, and (b) the last of our visiting kids+grandkids just left two days ago, and my wife and I are still recovering.

Comment from Skandia Recluse
Time: January 7, 2016, 11:15 pm

This is multi culturalism at it’s finest.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: January 8, 2016, 12:47 am

Not exactly all left there. About half of their stock was brought there, involuntarily.

Vikings, by the contemporary Middle Ages standards, did not play well with others. In absurdly small boats for crossing such a large and nasty ocean, they looted and pillaged inland as far as they could march from wherever they ran out of water to float their boats. Viking war parties were not coed. They looked a lot like the critters you pictured. That same type of boatload settled Iceland. Not coed.

One reason that they were so fearsome when they raided, is that the raiders had not touched anything/anyone soft for an awful long time. Which was also a problem when they were settling Iceland. So while they were looting, pillaging, raping, and in general imitating the ISIS contingents now starting occupy Europe, they started picking and choosing.

The most attractive women they found in the coastal regions of England, Ireland, Scotland, Man, Cornwall, Brittany, Wales, Normandy, the Loire, Poitou, Acquitaine, and Galicia involuntarily immigrated. I note that this includes all the 7 nations of Celtia, which may well have had a positive influence on the results.

This form of un-natural selection meant that the women of Iceland are … bloody stunning. I have had friends stationed in Iceland, at Keflavik and Hvalfjourour (sp?) who so testify. They are also strong willed and have no false modesty.

Comment from Nina
Time: January 8, 2016, 5:07 am

I need to do more than stay an hour between flights, and this sounds like a fine time of year to do that.

Not this year. My flight back to Oakland leaves in 6 hours, and since I’ve overstayed my Christmas break by two weeks already, it’s time to go back to work. Good bye Norway!

Comment from dissent555
Time: January 8, 2016, 2:10 pm

Yeah. Iceland is on the bucket list. Fire and ice and all that.

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: January 8, 2016, 6:10 pm

I second the notion that Icelandic women are stunning. Say what you want about Bjork as a singer — but she’s cute enough that, if there are more like her up there, I’d be willing to move there.

(Disclosure: I’d be willing to move there anyway.)

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: January 9, 2016, 12:59 am

Been doing family tree research and inquiries. I knew a cousin’s daughter married somewhat recently and had a baby. I got the exact info to post on the chart, and learned that the husband is an Icelander, and there are two kids. His last name is Grettarson, but the boys’ last name is Andrason.

Comment from Armybrat
Time: January 10, 2016, 3:52 am

Iceland is a pretty short trip for me- just a 4 hour flight from Boston. The hubby and I have been there several times. Love their typical Nordic legends/fascination with trolls and faries. And the Icelanders don’t look the typical tall blond Nordics. As a 6′ tall redhead, I felt right at home!
Oh, and my tree is still up because I’m currently vacationing in FL and won’t return home till the end of the month. Then both hubby and I will return to the slog that is our working life, so my tree is most likely going to remain up until early to mid Feb.

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