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Easter–or Páskar, as it’s known in Icelandic–is a time for rest and relaxation. Families meet together to celebrate the holiday, enjoy a delicious feast and of course, eat lots of chocolate. Keep reading to learn more about Easter traditions in Iceland.
Easter Traditions in Iceland
In Iceland, the Easter holiday is traditionally a Christian celebration. Maundy Thursday (Skírdagur), Long Friday (Föstudagurinn Langi), Easter Sunday (Páskadagur) and the following Monday (Annar í Páskum) are all public holidays. Nowadays, Icelanders of all religions take this time to visit with loved ones and relax. In fact, many Icelanders travel across the country to meet with their extended families.
Easter Eggs in Iceland
Icelanders have a few special traditions during Easter, but the most popular is certainly chocolate Easter eggs–páskaegg in Icelandic. About three weeks before Easter, chocolate eggs of all sizes begin to appear in the country’s supermarkets, hyping up the youngsters. Beloved by both kids and grown-up kids alike, these delicious chocolate eggs are a sight to see.
The chocolate eggs range from as small as a chicken egg to as big as a human head. They are filled with various sweets, alongside strips of paper with traditional proverbs or sayings–similar to the ones you find in fortune cookies. Easter egg hunts are not really an Icelandic tradition–perhaps this is due to the fact that the ground is often covered with snow during this time. However, some parents will hide a big chocolate Easter egg for each child somewhere in the house. It’s part of the fun on Easter morning to go on a hunt and find your egg!
Hotel Rangá: An Egg for Everyone
On Easter weekend, Hotel Rangá always shares Icelandic Easter eggs with all our guests. We invite everyone–both young and old–to take an egg and read the proverb inside. Ask one of our staff for a translation–we are more than happy to oblige. However, we might have to guess at the proverbs’ meanings–even Icelanders don’t always understand these cryptic sayings!
Easter in Iceland: Holy Porridge
Throughout the 18th and 19th century, when good, fresh food was scarce, it was traditional to serve some kind of porridge on Easter Sunday. To reflect the holiness of Easter, the porridge would be unusually thick and rich. Though usually made with barley, this porridge would sometimes be made with rice, which was considered the height of luxury.
An Easter Feast: Icelandic Lamb and Potatoes
A traditional Easter feast usually includes Icelandic lamb, sugar-glazed potatoes and homemade brown sauce. Side dishes are always green peas from a can and pickled red cabbage. This tasty dinner is enjoyed by many families across Iceland on Easter Sunday. Many Icelanders will drink Páskaöl, a mixture of malt (a sweet, malty soda) and appelsín (orange soda). Dessert might be a skyr cake with homemade ice cream. And of course, leftover chocolate eggs–that is, if there are any leftovers!
Easter in Iceland: A Great Time to Visit
Easter usually falls on a date in early to mid April. In fact, this is perfect timing for a visit to Iceland. The days are getting longer, and spring is just around the corner. If we are lucky, the Easter lilies and crocuses will be in bloom. Even better, the night sky is still dark enough to look for the northern lights.
Easter in Iceland is the perfect time of year for an adventure. Guests at Hotel Rangá can take a super jeep tour, go snowmobiling or take a horseback ride. It is good to note that some tour companies have shorter hours due to the Easter holiday. Be sure to contact the Hotel Rangá Reception, and we will help you to book an amazing tour with one of our trusted local tour operators.