American service members drank so much beer in Iceland that they cause a shortage and some bars ran out completely.
In addition to Father Christmas, Icelanders are visited by the 13 Yule Lads (including Sausage-Swiper, Spoon-Licker, & Door-Sniffer), as well as their giant pet cat Jólakötturinn, who eats children who don’t receive new clothes for Christmas.
On October 24, 1975, 90% of Iceland’s female population went on strike, demanding equal rights. They did not work, do housework, or look after their kids for an entire day. In 1980, Iceland elected its first female president, who credits her win to this specific day.
Icelandic people actively work to eliminate English “loanwords” in their language by inventing and substituting new words from Old Icelandic and Norse roots.
Pet dogs were banned in Reykjavík, Iceland for sixty years. Even today, owning a pet dog there requires special permits, hence cats are the pet of choice. The dog ban was issued in 1924, at a time when the population of Iceland was overwhelmingly rural and Reykjavík was still a small, but rapidly growing fishing town. Reykjavík was facing an acute housing shortage at the time, and as people lived in overcrowded apartments the city authorities reasoned that banning dogs would make the situation somewhat more bearable.
Iceland is extremely protective of their language, instead of loaning words from other languages they repurpose old ones, telephone is ‘simi’, meaning thread, jet plane is ‘thota’, meaning to zoom and the word for computer, ‘tölva’ translates to number priestess or numbers witch.
100% of Iceland’s population has the internet, the only country in the world.
In 2016, Reykjavik’s City Council decided to turn off city lights in order to allow residents to enjoy a fantastic Northern Lights display without artificial light pollution.
In Iceland books are exchanged on Christmas Eve and you spend the rest of the night reading. Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country; & new books are typically published only during the Christmas season. This frenzy is called Jólabókaflóð, or “Christmas Book Flood.”