|Icelandic dance: vikivaki|
So what do we do here in Iceland to mark the fast since we can’t dance the samba and are not very tanned to boot?
The celebration is a three day event. No one gets work off, meaning it is not eagerly awaited by many. Since the fast involved not eating, it is all about food. Well two of the three days involved used to be about food. Now all three are.
As a kid this bun-day also involved making a stick and decorating it with coloured paper. This was to be used to beat your parents with to get them to give you the buns. While beating one was supposed to yell “Bun! Bun!” Just to make sure the one being beaten would get the picture. Today this is no more, beating parents with sticks is no longer fashionable - even if the sticks are decorated.
The day after Bun-day comes Burst-day. On this day one is supposed to eat salted meat and yellow pea soup until one bursts. Hence the name. Usually people do not pop until the day after. Not from overeating but from water retention from all the salt, phosphorous and nitrate in the pink coloured meat. But, like most things that are not healthy it does taste good.
After eating buns on the Monday, salted meat on the Tuesday - the Wednesday involves candy. Ash-Wednesday. It works in a similar way as Halloween, kids get dressed up in costume and get sweets by going door to door. The differences between Halloween and Ash-Wednesday are that the kids wander between companies and stores, not private homes. They also have to sing to get candy and no subtle threats are passed between kid and grown-up: Trick-or-Treat. This candy stuff is a recent development. Before, when I was a kid, we would make bags of cloth called “öskupokar” (English: ash-bags) that were tied by a thread to bent pins. These were prepared ahead of time and on the Wednesday we would go outside and attempt to fasten them onto strangers without them noticing. Making the bags was a chore so I for one was really reluctant to hang them on the back of someone’s coat and see them walk away. It did not seem enough return on the effort.
Before, when my parent’s generation were kids, these bags used to be filled with ash. My generation had no ash to put in the bags. We had district heating from geothermal and were not allowed to set anything on fire. And this was before Health and Safety was invented. I wonder what the future holds.
Finally, I noticed when logging in that we here on Murder is Everywhere have surpassed one million page views. I think this is a reason for celebration - maybe we the bloggers could all bring ash-bags to Crimefest. Or hamburgers with whipped cream.
Yrsa – Ash-Wednesday