Bolludagur 2019: Iceland's Bun Day - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Bolludagur 2019: Iceland’s Bun Day

Published March 4, 2019

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Bolludagur is the first of three days of great food and better company that make up the pre-Lent celebrations of the Icelandic people.
Due to the nature of Easter, the date of Bolludagur will often change from one year to the next and as such, there is no fixed date for when Bolludagur is celebrated. It always occurs through on the Monday prior to Ash Wednesday. This year we are celebrating Bolludagur today, March 4th!
The name Bolludagur translates roughly to “Bun Day” and, much like many Icelandic days of celebration, is filled with a variety of seemingly strange traditions that often defy explanation.

First and foremost we must explain that there is a rule to Bolladagur. Traditionally speaking you are not supposed to purchase your own Bolla on Bolladagur. The Bolla should be a gift, given to you by a loved one or a family member!
Thankfully the holiday is also accompanied by a second tradition by which you can employ the use of a decorated stick to ensure that a Bolla will be yours. If you can manage to spank someone on their rear (preferably before they wake up) on Bolladagur then the contract is sealed and the owner of the rear will be required to get you a Bolla.
This tradition is especially strong in young children, so please do have sympathy for any Icelandic parents you may come across today. There is a good chance that their day started with the waving of sticks and a chorus of “Bolla Bolla Bolla!”

But what IS a Bolla? And why are they so highly coveted amongst the Icelandic population?
A typical Bolla is a small round choux pastry. This pastry is cut through its midsection, filled with delicious cream and then topped with a generous amount of either Chocolate or caramel. Typical will only get you so far though and most bakers are artists at heart. With this in mind, if you are willing to hunt, you can find all kinds of exotic and delicious Bolla variations.
A personal favourite has to be the Lemon Meringue Bolla available at Kruðerí in Kopavogur.
Some people are even choosing to leave the Choux pastry elements behind with Bolla being created in all kinds of shapes and sizes!

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