Iceland celebrating thirteenth and final day of Christmas

Today is the thirteenth and final day of the Christmas festival in Iceland and what better way to celebrate than with more bonfires and fireworks?

The skies across Iceland will light up one more time this evening as the end of Christmas is celebrated and the last of the Yule Lads makes his way back home to the mountains.

Unlike New Year’s Eve, most of the fireworks let off tonight will be part of organised displays. There are three in Reykjavik: Leirdalur, Grafarholt, at 19.30; Gufunesbær, Grafarvogur, at 17.00; and the KR sports grounds in Vesturbær at 18.30. Árborg, Hafnarfjörður and Mosfellsbær are also in the Reykjavík district and will each hold their own bonfire and fireworks displays themselves.

Towns all over Iceland will be doing likewise and the northwest town of Ísafjörður is no exception. This from local news source BB.is:

“This year’s Thirteenth celebration will be held in Ísafjörður on Friday. For many years the Thirteenth has been celebrated alternately each year between Bolungarvík and Ísafjörður.

“The Thirteenth celebration this year begins with a torch parade from the scout hall at 20.00. The procession will make its way from there to [the lawn outside the town library]. Among the procession will be drummers, a bishop, the elf king and queen, princes and princesses, as well as elves and other hidden people. It is also not unlikely that Grýla will appear in all her gruesome glory.

“Traditional New Year’s and Thirteenth songs will be sung and people will dance around the fire. There will also be a ballet display by the dance students and the Rögnvaldur art school. After the dancing everyone will make their way to outside the Neisti shopping centre where the celebration will end with a firework display.

“It is the Women’s Association of Hlíf which organises this year’s Thirteenth celebration, with help from the elementary school, the search & rescue team, the scouts, Ísafjarðarbær municipality; as well as singers, actors and musicians from the town. Over 100 people are taking part in the Thirteenth celebration in one way or another and the ladies from Hlíf would like to thank them all for their help.”

In many towns, including Ísafjörður/Bolungarvík, the fireworks display is organised by the search & rescue teams, who let off the fireworks they did not manage to sell before NYE – their biggest fundraising event of the year.

Today is also the day for taking down household Christmas decorations; although Christmas lights are an exception, remaining stubbornly in place in many homes for at least another month or more – helping people through the darkness of winter.

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