Monday, February 12, 2018

Maskdagur / Bolludagur

It’s a beautifully calm and sunny day today after the storm. Tomorrow the next low pressure system is moving in already and we’re in for more snow and, above all, more high winds. In the morning I go wild shoveling again, getting the garbage cans cleared and even digging out the neighbor’s car for fun. Later I enjoy a calm walk on the beach and enjoy a unique sight. The beach is full of unopened clam shells.

There’s more to this day than just nice weather, though. The Monday before Ash Wednesday is called bun day, or Bolludagur (Well, they’re actually cream puffs. Shoot the translator please). For the last few days now, the bakeries in town have been making these wonderfully high-calorie and extremely tasty cream puffs. I even had one recently with licorice. But today is the actual day of the celebration. And because we people of the Westfjords like to be different, we add a little special touch to it all with Mask Day, or Maskadagur. My research says that this is the only town in Iceland to do this. This tradition is similar to Halloween. The kids dress up in costumes and go door to door, carrying little bags or even a plastic pumpkin to collect goodies in. These kids actually have to work for their candy though by singing a tune. The first time I experienced this, the kids had fun belting out their rehearsed songs but today everyone seems a bit shy and I have to prompt most of them. No song, no goodies.

Now this is not like in the US where the kids have a set time, generally spanning no more than 2-3 hours, to knock on doors. The first kids generally head straight out after school, going to local businesses to collect the loot. I spot the first one come into the hairdresser’s where I was getting my hair cut. The fun stretches into the night and I’ve had kids come as late as 11pm already. Today there were twin dinosaurs, a gift package and even a zombie. All in all, I have about 15 kids at the door.

So when the next storm hits tomorrow, we all have our creampuffs and candy to keep us entertained.