In Iceland, a new year presents a book and a box of chocolates.



Magical New Year and Christmas rituals fill us with warmth and bring us close to our loved ones, and most importantly – create a sense of celebration. Instead of waiting for miracles and good mood, why not start your own wonderful tradition this year? Here are some ideas from all over the world.

One of the most cozy New Year traditions exists in Iceland. On Christmas night in families, it is customary to give each other a book and a box of chocolates. Children and adults dress up in bright new pajamas, climb into a bed covered with fresh linen, and leaf through the books far past midnight, eating chocolate.

The fascination for books in Iceland is unbelievable – more books are published than in any other country, and most of the new products are published during the Christmas season. For the book consumer “fever” there is even a special word, Jólabókaflóð, or “Christmas book flood”. Each Icelander receives as a gift at least one book. Especially for the New Year holidays a beautiful book catalog is being released to make it more convenient to choose a gift for relatives and friends. Which book is best for your wife / husband, children, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends – one of the most popular topics for discussion on the famous Icelandic hot springs, at home and at work.

Instead of advertising TVs, telephones and jewelry, TV-rolls of new books are played on TV, the most interesting authors of the season are invited to interview, and the most successful book covers are discussed.

The tradition of giving books is most likely related to the climate – the winter in Iceland is long, cold and dark, and to pass the time, the villagers have long gathered around the campfire and told each other stories. Icelanders have a saying “ad ganga med bok I maganum” (“everyone carries a book in himself”, which means – everyone has something to say or write about a book about). It is not surprising that modern Icelanders are the most reading nation in the world. More than 50% of the country’s inhabitants read 8 books a year, every tenth Icelander is a writer.

Close neighbors, the Swedes, in the pre-Christmas evenings, sitting down to have supper, set on the table a set of candles and bells with turntable angels – the angels begin to “fly” from the heat of the candles, and the melodiously tinkle. In most adults in Sweden, the children’s memory of Christmas is associated with this “angel chime” – like pustov cookies, the sound of bells through the year gives a feeling of warmth and love, security.

The tradition does not have to cost money – for example, in the US, parents with small children, dressed up a Christmas tree at home, for one New Year’s Eve arrange themselves a “night” under it. Having settled in a sleeping bag or wrapped up in a warm blanket, you can drink orange juice and sort out the most interesting memories of the past year – until the eyes close by themselves, tired of admiring the sparkling toys in the dark …

Do you have your own interesting New Year’s tradition?