Culture
Konudagur: Women’s Day In Iceland

Konudagur: Women’s Day In Iceland

Alice Demurtas
Words by
Photos by
Berglind Björnsdóttir
Johanna Eriksson

Published February 16, 2018

As the winter months finally begin to fade towards a much-anticipated pseudo-spring, it’s once again time to celebrate Konudagur, or Women’s Day. But if you think this is the latest feminist addition to the Icelandic holiday-packed calendar, think again. In fact, while the word Konudagur was first used in the the 19th century, the tradition dates back to centuries ago, having its roots in the old Nordic calendar.

Þorri and Góa

Traditionally, Konudagur always falls on a Sunday and on the first day of Góa, which is the second-to-last winter month, marking the time when the days start being visibly longer.

While etymologists aren’t sure about the meaning of the word Góa, it is thought to be related to the Norwegian word ‘gjø,’ which means ‘snowflake.’ According to old Nordic legends in fact, Góa, who was then called Gói, was the daughter of Þorri (the month Þorri ends exactly when Góa begins), granddaughter of Snær (snow) and Frosti (frost), niece of Mjöll (another word for snow) and Drífa (you guessed it, another word for snowfall).

Brighter days ahead

But what do Icelanders do on this day? The female equivalent of Bóndadagur, or Farmers Day, Konudagur is an occasion for women to be pampered and well thought of by their husbands, as well as to celebrate the arrival of spring and the brighter days ahead.

While centuries ago the tradition saw the man of the house stepping out in the snow lightly dressed to welcome Góa into the barn, later on the tradition began to change, especially when men were away from home for work-related reasons. Then, the housewives took it upon themselves to wake up and go out in the snow to welcome Góa by saying:

“Velkomin sértu, góa mín,
og gakktu í bæinn;
vertu ekki úti í vindinum
vorlangan daginn.”

(“Welcome, my dear Góa,
and come inside;
don’t stay out in the wind,
oh summer day.”)

So don’t forget, this Sunday before pancakes and coffee, step outside the house without a coat and welcome Góa into your house with a smile: after all, there are only brighter days ahead, right?


Culture
Ask A Philosopher: What Is Island Mentality And Do You Think It Exists In Iceland?

Ask A Philosopher: What Is Island Mentality And Do You Think It Exists In Iceland?

by

We asked philosopher Gústav Adolf Bergmann Sigurbjörnsson, PhD candidate in philosophy at the University of Iceland and chairman of the

Culture
Fancies: Böðvar Guðjónsson

Fancies: Böðvar Guðjónsson

by

Böðvar Guðjónsson (48) is omnipresent in downtown Reykjavík. You probably know him best as the former figurehead of the KEX

Culture
War Of The Nerds: Hugleikur’s HÚ-riffic Tale

War Of The Nerds: Hugleikur’s HÚ-riffic Tale

by

Syphilis. The Spanish Inquisition. Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left To Cry’—there are some things you just can’t joke about. But

Culture
From Creative People For Creative People: The Space Reykjavík Opens Its Doors On June 16th

From Creative People For Creative People: The Space Reykjavík Opens Its Doors On June 16th

by

There is fresh air in Reykjavík’s ex-industrial area, Grandi. Right next to the celebrated Omnom chocolate factory, there’s a space

Culture
111: Straight Outta Breiðholt

111: Straight Outta Breiðholt

by

I ventured out from the cosy and often too comfortable 101 bubble to meet with Sigurþór Hallbjörnsson—better known as Spessi—in

Culture
When You’re Estranged: Reykjavík’s Special Edition Drag Mag

When You’re Estranged: Reykjavík’s Special Edition Drag Mag

by

Estranged is a new, mobile magazine project by local photographer Kaspars Bekeris and Matthias Boyer. You might know the work

Show Me More!