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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Today is "Bolludagur": The peculiar Icelandic holiday "Cream Bun Day"

By Staff

  • Bolludagsbollur: Icelandic Cream Buns The entire premise of Bolludagur in Iceland is to consume cream buns. That's it! Photo/Anton Brink

Today is "Bolludagur" a unique Icelandic celebration of cream buns, and the first day in a three day holiday of over-indulgence and fun! On Tuesday we celebrate Sprengidagur, and on Wednesday Icelanders celebrate Öskudagur.

Spanking and cream buns
Bolludagur, which translates directly to “Bun day”, was originally a Danish or Norwegian tradition which Icelanders began to celebrate in the late 19th century. By the middle of the 20th century the holiday had taken a unique Icelandic form: Children would decorate a short stick with made colorful paper, and then use this "bolludagsvöndur" (bun-day wand) to spank their parents and other grown-ups, while crying "bolla, bolla, bolla!" ("bun, bun, bun").

In exchange for the whacking the grown-up is expected to award the child with a sweet cream buns, filled with jam and topped with delicious chocolate. The number of buns awarded would be equal to the times the child managed to spank the grown-up.

The spanking-part of bolludagur has gradually receded in importance, but the eating of the buns remains!

Every year Icelanders (a nation of 330,000 people) consume in excess of one million cream buns. Local bakers produce an estimated one million Bolludagur-buns each year, in addition to the untold quantities which are baked at home!

Bolludagur is followed by Sprengidagur, the Icelandic equivalence of Mardi Gras.

Lastly, we have Öskudagur, or Ash Wednesday. The Icelandic tradition surrounding this day is somewhat romantic.

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