Icelanders celebrate Twelfth Night with bonfires for the elves

Today marks the epiphany, Twelfth Night,  the end of Christmas which in Iceland is celebrated in a somewhat pagan fashion. 

The date is called Þrettándinn (The Thirteenth) in Icelandic and folklore tells of strange things happening on that night such as speaking cows, celebrations by the elves and the appearance of trolls. 

The Elf King and Queen therefore often visit the bonfires, and people sing songs about the elves and dance elf-dances. Often, the last of the fireworks are also set off. 

It is also the night that the last of the Yule lads, Kertasníkir, leaves for the mountains, reappearing only for next Christmas. 

To see where the elf bonfires in Reykjavik are located see HERE. 

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Light rain

Today

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