Celebrating Light and Brighter Days
Ásatrúarfélagið, an association of Icelanders who believe in the Nordic gods, celebrated winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, yesterday, Morgunblaðið reports. In heathen times, winter solstice was a celebration of light in Iceland, and this day continues to be celebrated by members of Ásatrúarfélagið.
They gathered by their temple in Öskjuhlíð, Reykjavík, holding torches and outdoor candles.
Today, the sun rises in Reykjavík at 11:22 am and sets at 3:32 pm. In Akureyri, the sun rises at 11:38 am and sets at 2:45 pm. The residents of Grímsey island, off the north coast, must make do with even less daylight, for there, the sun rises at 12:03 pm and sets at 2:18 pm.
There is reason to celebrate winter solstice, for there are brighter times ahead. As early as January 1, the residents of Reykjavík will see the sun rise at 11:19 am and set at 3:43 pm; in Akureyri, the sun will rise at 11:32 am and set at 2:59 pm; and on Grímsey island, sunrise will be at 11:54 am and sunset at 2:37 pm.
In other words, by January 1, Reykjavík will see 14 more minutes of daylight. Akureyri residents have even more to celebrate, for their day will be 20 minutes longer than today. But the winners are the residents of Grímsey, who will gain 28 minutes of daylight by New Year’s Day.