The 6th of January marks the Epiphany, which for many Christians around the world commemorates the visit of the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus Christ and His baptism. For Icelanders however, the Epiphany officially marks the end of Christmas and is celebrated in a somewhat pagan fashion.
Elf bonfire in Iceland from icelandwonder.com.
This uniquely Icelandic celebration is known as Þrettándinn (The Thirteenth) and is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, family dinners and elf dances. The festival is one of the most heathen of holidays celebrated in Iceland and over the centuries was adopted into the Christmas (Jól) period.
Elf bonfires (álfabrennur) are a common part of the holiday and are held all over the country and in many places throughout Reykjavík. According to the old myths, it’s one of the few days when the hidden people (elves) make themselves visible to humans and the Elf King and Queen ride through the countryside visiting different bonfires.
This is an extract from: Icelanders Celebrate The End Of Christmas With Bonfires For The Elves written by icelandwonders.com. If you'd like to read the full article and watch the video please click here.
To listen to our podcast episode on elves please click here.