Today is the anniversary of Home Rule – the day Iceland obtained sovereignty from Denmark, in 1918. Whoo-hoo!

Quick historical briefing, courtesy of Fréttablaðið:

“A short and simple celebration took place at the Government House, a brass band played Eldgamla Ísafold (song), Finance Minister Sigurður Eggerz gave a speech, while the Prime Minister was in Denmark where he had an audience with the King during which he would receive confirmation of the new legislation. […] Few townspeople were present. The town [Reykjavík] was still recuperating from the effects of the Spanish flu that had been rampant two months earlier, the worst epidemic of the 20th Century. […] Even though the event was not more elaborate, this day was more significant than the public realized at the time. It was the end of the quest for independence, with the full victory of the Icelandic people.”

Incidentally, this is not to be confused with 17 June, when Iceland celebrates full independence/becoming a Republic.

Ok, that’s enough history for one day.


Today, the first of the annual December cartoons appeared on the back of Morgunblaðið, announcing that it is 23 days to Christmas. This particular cartoon features Grýla, who for those who don’t know is an ogre who lives up in the mountains and eats small children for breakfast (or any other meal) if they’ve been naughty. That’s right: Icelanders do not say to their children with finger wagging, “If you’re bad, Santa won’t come visit you…”, they say, “Shut up, or Grýla will come down from the mountains, stuff you into her canvas sack, carry you to her cave, and eat you!”

Uncivilized? Abusive? Or the making of hearty, stalwart young Icelanders? Discuss.

Incidentally, Grýla is also the mother of the Yule Lads, Iceland’s version of Santa Claus times 13. (Bet they were all really really good when they were growing up, huh?) They begin arriving in residential areas somewhere around the middle of the month, and come one per day until the Big Day on the 24th. But more on that later.


Rain and/or snow heading our way. Wind, currently non-existent, set to pick up. Temps, currently just below freezing, set to rise and to reach a max of 5 degrees. Sunrise is set for 10.47 (in another 5 minutes, yeah!); sunset 15.45.