From Iceland — NIGHTLIFE


Published June 13, 2003


…Get smashed!
The inhabitants, of what used to be a very isolated island until 50 years ago, always drank in order to get drunk. This is what the Norse gods did, this is what our forefathers did, this is what our grandparents did when they were young and this is how we still like to do it.
Surveys proof that of all the Nordic nations, Icelanders have the top score in getting extremely drunk, driving while intoxicated, doing something weird while drunk, having sex with a stranger, spending too much money while drinking and getting the worst hangovers the next day.

You might ask yourself…why? What explains this primitive and raw behavior during the weekends? Why only in Iceland and not everywhere? Why does everyone become so wild? Quite possibly the reasons are many and come from different angles, but let´s pick a few…

Relax -don´t do it…
1. Working hard is considered to be the greatest of all good deeds in our culture. Therefore it seems crazy to drink in the middle of the week because you have to work the day after, (remember, we drink to get DRUNK) for who wants to go to work with a hangover? (We are Japanese in the mid-week and get Zulu on Saturdays)

2. No adult Icelander has grown up with a vine and dine culture. There has never been a point in drinking one glass of wine because we didn´t drink it for the taste until very recently (most of us know the difference between red and white, but that’s about it). Back in the early 90’s we all rather preferred a coke with our steak and still today in 2003, there are a lot of people who don´t see the point in drinking alcohol if you don´t intend to get drunk on it.

3. Beer was illegal from early 20th century until 1988. Because there was no beer, there were no pubs or cafés until the anti beer law was changed fifteen years ago.

4. There is hardly a point in going out to a bar since drinking in the middle of the week was, and still is a taboo in our culture. Getting drunk in the middle of the week is for artists, actors, free-lance workers and the occational accidental tourists.
5. If you get drunk in the middle of the week. People are going to think you are an alcoholic.

…when you wanna go to it
All this holding back, five days of the week, results in a lot of stored drinking energy. This energy explodes every weekend, all over the country in all kinds of people age 15-35. So every cell, in every other hard working young Icelandic brain, finds the ultimate release on Friday and Saturday night when the laws of our small universe will turn around and all the rules change. We screw the top off the bottle and spill that Vodka down our thirsty throats, our vocabulary increases, we become sex machines, and we can shake our asses in a night eternally young like there will never be a tomorrow and at the same time -shock and amaze tourists from all over the world.
And our advise to you is -Don’t fight it –Feel it.
…when you wanna come!

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