Iceland works in mysterious ways, and because Easter holidays are upon us, with all that they entail, we compiled a guide for all the travellers who will be joining us in Iceland this weekend. In doing so, we hope to prepare you for the craziness and help you out in your quest for food, fun and booze during your holiday.
No bingo, no lotteries, no dancing
Iceland has been a Christian country for centuries, and although most Icelandic residents are registered within the National Church, the importance that religion holds within society has decreased since the beginning of the 20th century. Therefore, while some of the local laws still find their roots in Christianity, they can often feel outdated.
One of these laws, for instance, states that holding “bingo, lotteries, dance concerts and other gatherings” during the Easter holidays and Christmas is completely illegal. Although the law dates back to 1926, minor changes have been made during the years to add other ridiculous provisions that forbid people from operating a gas station over Easter holidays, or to have your restaurant or hotel open during this time.
The laws banning social gatherings are never actually enforced, but you still might find yourself in an uncomfortable situation when you find out that bars, shops, restaurants and pubs are closed both on Good Friday and on Easter Sunday.
Shops and various institutions will adhere to a strict schedule:
The alcohol store Vínbúðin will open in the capital area only on Saturday, from 11:00 to 18:00.
Supermarket Bónus will be open only on Thursday and Saturday from 10:00 to 19:00.
Supermarkets Krónan and Hagkaup will also be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, while opening hours will vary from store to store. You can find the relative schedules here and here.
The offices of the local police will also be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, but they’ll be able to open again straight after midnight.
Where is the party?
Because everything is closed on Good Friday you might have to wait until midnight to go out and party (bars are allowed to re-open on Saturday and Monday morning at midnight). Alternatively, you can join those who make it a point to go against the establishment and organise private parties despite the law.
Like every year, the skeptic society Vantrú will be holding an illegal bingo in the Parliament square Austurvöllur at 13:00 on Good Friday.
Last year, youth group Young Pirates organised a successful party on Good Friday in their headquarters, encouraging people to bring their own booze and have fun. In perfect line with tradition, the Pirates will also be holding one of these events this Friday at the HQ on Síðmúli 23 at 20:00. “By doing so we protest the existing holiday legislation and fight for the separation of state and church,” they write on their Facebook page.
Also on Friday, the Doomsday festival will be rocking downtown Reykjavík with a kick-ass line up of musicians, poets and performers who will be on stage from 3PM to 3AM. Tickets are 3,333 ISK, but they’re well worth the money. From the crazy Hórmónar, Elli Grill and Madonna + Child, to the softness of IDA IDK and the quick witted poet Kött Grá Pje, it will be a night to remember. If you still need convincing, perhaps the 2017 masters of live performance HATARI will change your mind.
Whatever you do, don’t lock yourself up at home or in your hotel. There’s always something fun to do on this rock we call Iceland.
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