Next week's festivities: Mischief with bags of ash

One of the traditions of Ash Wednesday is to pin …

One of the traditions of Ash Wednesday is to pin ash-bags on unsuspecting peoples backs. Jim Smart

Though Ash Wednesday may be a religious day in many countries, this is not the case for most people in Iceland, especially not for kids.

Every Ash Wednesday Icelandic kids dress up as witches, cowboys, princesses, punk rockers or trolls and go about their home towns in flocks. The tradition is visiting companies and singing in exchange for candy.

Another tradition is to pin an ash-bag on the backs of unknowing people. This tradition is getting less and less common. Understandably, it does not involve candy.

The Ash-bags are small sacks supposedly filled with ash, but as ash is not as common as it used to be they are usually filled with grains. The point of the bags is basically the mischief. To laugh at the fact that some unknowing person is walking around with an ash-bag stuck to his/hers back.

If one is interested in participating in this tradition but not sure how to make an ash-bag, no worries, The Reykjavík City Library has a course on it on Saturday and Sunday.

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