Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Culture

Öskudagur means fancy dress and bags full of ashes

By Staff

  • Braving the cold On Öskudagur school children will dress up in fancy dress and go from store to store, singing in hopes of receiving candy. Photo/Valli

Öskudagur, or Ash Wednesday, marks the first day of Lent in Western Christianity. The Icelandic tradition surrounding this day is somewhat fanciful; Young women would try and pin little bags filled with ashes onto the back of the boy they fancied without the subject of their infatuation noticing. Young men would try and do the same, but with pouches filled with pebbles.

Read more: Bolludagur, Sprengidagur and Öskudagur: Three days of over-indulgence

According to information from the National University the tradition traces its roots back to the old custom of bringing home a small amount of the ashes ceremonially placed on the heads of Christians on Ash Wednesday.

In later years Öskudagur has to some extent become more like Halloween. School children will dress up in fancy dress and go from store to store, singing in hopes of receiving candy. 

Öskudagur, krakkar, Grímubúningar

Children of all ages celebrate Öskudagur. Photo/Valli

 

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