Iceland's two Valentine's Days

Magazine Iceland's two Valentine's Days

If you thought one Valentine‘s Day was enough to remember in a year, when in Iceland, come prepared for TWO. The florists and chocolatiers of the country just love midwinter, because that is also a season of giving between loved ones.

The first references to „man‘s day“ and „woman‘s day“ in Icelandic history are from mid-19th century. Back then the ancient winter months of Thorri and góa began with remembering the master (man) of the farm and mistress of the farm, respectively.

So the month of Thorri (read more about the Þorrablót celebrations here) begins mid-January with „bóndadagur“ or „husbands‘s day“. This is when women give gifts or cook food to any significant men in their lives. Because the day coincides with the Þorrablót festivities, the dinner usually consists of old traditional Icelandic foods, like ram‘s testicles and pressed heads of said animal. Icelanders usually like to point out this is the only time of year when they eat food like this, and normal people food for the rest of the year.

The month of Thorri ends with „konudagur“, or „wife‘s day“. That is when the Icelandic women can expect to be pampered with flowers, chocolates and other gifts. Usually there is also a dinner involved, since the day always sets on a Sunday (February 21 this year, just so you won‘t forget!). Konudagur also marks the beginning of the month of góa. There is an Icelandic saying „ad threyja thorrann og góuna“. It basically means if people survive the midwinter until góa, they can start looking forward to spring. 

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