It’s Easter Sunday, the second-last day of the five-day holiday that is Easter weekend here in Niceland.
Until a few years ago, everything was closed for most of these five days. They’ve relaxed the rules a bit now, allowing for movies on Good Friday, for instance, and restaurants and cafes are open [largely in response to the tourist trade — imagine those poor tourists who used to come here for Easter and found virtually everything closed] – at least some of them. On the other hand, all bars and clubs must close at midnight on Maundy Thursday and remain firmly closed all of Good Friday. Most of them then re-open at midnight on Friday and stay open until the wee hours of Saturday morning. The same goes for Easter Sunday – close midnight on Saturday, stay closed all day today, re-open at midnight.
Betcha didn’t think we Nicelanders were so pious, did you?
Predictably, a lot of people use the Easter holidays to go away somewhere, seeing as how there are only three working days in the preceding week and four in the next. YT and EPI decided to stick around in town; initially we were thinking of going to Akureyri, up north, to visit my eldest stepdaughter, but in the end she decided to come here. Incidentally, have I mentioned she’s expecting a baby? No? Well, she is! So EPI will soon be known as Grandpa EPI and YT as, well, YT. And that’s because Grandma – and even Exceedingly Young Step-Grandma – sounds OLD!
And yes, we’re all very excited.
Anyway, today we observed the usual Easter Sunday ritual of hiding and seeking our chocolate Easter eggs. For those who don’t know, Icelandic Easter eggs come in a variety of sizes [conveniently numbered 1-7, like hats, or gloves], have little Easter chicks stuck on the top, are filled with candy and – most importantly – an Icelandic idiom. [Pic of Icelandic Easter eggs here]. The idioms are a key, KEY, ingredient in the Easter egg tradition, and Icelanders go around all day asking and telling each other what their Easter egg idiom was. [Which is why if you have Icelandic friends on Facebook you may have noticed them writing weird things as their status updates today.]
AAH had to work at 11 am so we had to get up kinda early to make brunch — we’d already hidden the Easter eggs last night in a variety of ingenious locations [not really – over the years we’ve totally exhausted all the good hiding places] and as soon as ÁE [eldest step] got here she and AAH set about searching for their eggs while EPI fried the bacon and YT, um, observed the search. Always fun.
As soon as we’d downed brunch EPI and I set about looking for our eggs, and as usual it took me about ten seconds to find mine and EPI about ten hours a long time to find his. And that’s because, according to EPI, he always looks for his egg in the places where he’d probably hide it himself, which as we know are the places that YT would NEVER pick, for the reason cited above.
So, as soon as everyone had their egg, we all very single-mindedly dug in to look for our own idioms. Mine was: Þokka býður þrifin hönd — very cryptic, meaning something like “A clean hand has lovely appeal” [or something]. AAH got: Allir fuglar úr eggi skríða — “All birds crawl from an egg”, ÁE got: Sá gefur mest sem minnst má — “He gives most who has the least”, while EPI got: Uslagjöld eru sjaldan tvöföld — “Compensation is rarely doubled”. So as you can see, we received a vast amount of spiritual enrichment today in the form of Easter egg idioms and, truly, are better people for it.
All that enlightenment is possibly what prompted EPI and I to stop by the Culture House museum today when we went out for our Easter walk [or maybe because it was one of the few places that was open]. This is where the old Icelandic manuscripts are exhibited and, truly, it was an eye-opener for our YT. Generally I’m not a museum person [ok, I find most museums excruciatingly dull] — but this was great! I particularly enjoyed how the whole storytelling tradition in Iceland was highlighted — truly, it is such a major component of this country’s history and those old manuscripts — wow, they are amazing! Such painstaking work that was involved; it’s no wonder that in one part of the exhibition there’s an ancient quote from a scribe, who describes the physical hardship he goes through. I can’t remember all of it, just the very end: “three fingers write, yet the whole body suffers”. Cool. Trés cool.
NB I noticed that a question was posted to the forums a couple of days ago about Easter traditions … I’ve written more about Easter here and here, and also on my own personal take on the Resurrection here.
IT HAS BEEN MOSTLY SUNNY AND COLD
Which is perfect for all the thousands who hit the slopes this Easter. One of these days I’m going to try my hand [or feet] at downhill skiing — I have never skied downhill, the product of being raised largely in a flat landscape, I reckon. EPI went cross-country skiing on two occasions this Easter, while YT resorted to the very mundane activity of going to the gym — albeit replete with a soak in an outdoor Jacuzzi afterward with the sun on my face. Currently 2°C [36F]. The sun came up at 6.06 am and went down at 8.52 pm.
[PS – Thanks to all of you who have ordered Folk Legends — your orders are duly received and will be mailed out next week.]