Here's how Icelanders spend their New Year's Eve:
Family dinners at home are the norm and later many Icelanders gather around one of several bonfires scattered around the city to enjoy the warm fire and celebrate. At 10pm Icelanders make sure and head home to watch an annual comedy show called Áramótaskaupið, the New Year’s Comedy. It’s a special show that has been broadcast annually since 1966; it focuses on the past year from a satirical standpoint and over 90% of the country will be tuning in! Now we get to the truly amazing part. At midnight the fireworks madness begins. Let me tell you why it is so epic. First, Iceland has no restrictions on fireworks that many other countries have, so Icelanders are free to buy as many fireworks as they want. And, we're not talking about sparklers and firecrackers here. We are talking the kind that you are used to seeing at professional shows. In fact, on average Icelanders light up over 600 tons of fireworks! Most family will spend literally hundreds of dollars on fireworks which they take back to their neighborhoods. So, what transpires are thousands and thousands of mini fireworks displays. The effect is akin to the entire city having a massive and very prolonged fireworks show that will blow your mind. You may never again see this many explosions and for so long.
The fireworks are sold by ICE-SAR (the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue), a self funded volunteer group. All proceeds from the fireworks sales go to this organization which usually does about 1200 rescues per year! After midnight, the nightclubs and bars stay open pretty much all night and many Icelanders head downtown to carry on the celebration well into the morning.
This blog was composed by staff writers at Icelandic Mountain Guides offering a great selection of glacier tours and much more!