Thorrablot and Dark Music Days

By | Category: Travel destinations

Harpa

Iceland is a holiday destination that attracts people travelling for short-breaks as well as those seeking longer holidays but would you travel there in winter?

Many do and travelling later this month will bring you into contact with two traditional past times, one stretching back to Viking heritage and the other, much newer, but a fixture in the Icelandic calendar.

Thorrablot marks the midwinter feasting time in Iceland. Near the beginning of each year during the ancient Viking month of Thor, Iceland celebrates Thorrablot to commemorate the Norse god of Thunder. Just as the Vikings did, Icelanders come together to eat, drink and be merry. Traditionally, the menu consists of unusual culinary delicacies, including rotten shark’s meat (hákarl), boiled sheep’s head (svið), and congealed sheep’s blood wrapped in a ram’s stomach (blóðmör). Not the lightest on the stomach! During the month of Thor in modern-day Iceland, these traditional delicacies can often be found on grocery store shelves and in restaurants. It lasts a month and runs from January 24th until February 23rd which means it recommends itself as a half term break destination.

The Dark Music Days festival is held in the capital, Reykjavik’s, concert hall, Harpa, and last four days from the 30th of January. Established by the Society of Icelandic Composers in 1980, the focus of the festival is on new and experimental pieces that reflect the increasing diversity and creativity of Iceland’s thriving music scene. But what is the Icelandic music scene like? The country boasts eighteen different record labels, and eight recording studios. There will be thirty premieres by composers ranging mostly from Iceland but also from the United States, Australia, Belgium, Holland and Britain.

As a half term or short break destination, winter is the time to visit Iceland as well as Spring, Summer and Autumn.

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