A brief guide to...
Sadly overlooked by most visitors to Iceland, Bolludagur, Sprengidagur and Öskudagur are set up back to back, conveniently enough, on the last two days of February and the first day of March. Taken together, they afford you the opportunity to be a complete glutton, three days in a row.
On Bolludagur you eat puffed, filo dough rolls filled with jam and whipped cream and topped with chocolate. Lots of them. Traditionally, children are allowed to spank their parents with a stick while saying, “Bolla! Bolla! Bolla!” and are given one such roll for every “Bolla.” Due to recent concerns about obesity in children, most kids are given only a few rolls at a time, but we grown-ups can eat as many as we please.
On Sprengidagur, you eat salted meat and yellow peas. Lots of them. As the name of the holiday suggests (“bursting day”), overeating is not only expected; it’s required. Dig in!
On Öskudagur, we arrive at the Icelandic version of Halloween, without the pagan undertones. Children dress in costumes and walk from store to store, seeking candy. But rather than just being able to put their hands out and be given the candy, the beauty of Öskudagur is that children are expected to earn their candy by singing a song. By the end of the day, though, the bloom is off the rose and most kids will rush through a mumbled version of whatever song they’ve already sung dozens of times that day.
As these three holidays herald the month where spring begins, it’s sort of like celebrating the end of winter by pigging out. There are few better ways to celebrate an end of the darkness. Bon appetit!