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Goð Jól!

This year Jól starts today, December 21st 2017. Jól lasts for three nights* starting at the winter solstice. So, this time December 24 will be the first day of the new year - this date is not celebrated, and neither is the 25th, as these dates are just ordinary dates; not significant in any way.

The traditional greeting is simply a new year toast/greeting, meaning something akin to "live long and peacefully", literally "for (the) year and peace". In Iceland it is still a common new years greeting. Here it is:

Til árs ok friðar

(read on...)

Jól is not Christmas! It is much older than that, literally from pre-history! Jól is the original Danish New Year, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything Christian. It is not even celebrated on a date, it starts at the night after whatever day that is the shortest day of the year, and lasts for three nights*. So, Jól does not even follow the Christian calendar.

The odd letters are Icelandic. Iceland is the only Norse country that has preserved the old Danish language (often called "Old Norse" as its use was not confined within modern-day borders; it was pan-Scandinavian, as were the Danes).

Added: This is not ment to offend anyone. If you prefer the Christ Cola** that is your choice, and I respect that. We're all different and that's ok.

Danes drink beer, although nowadays most Danes are sober most of the year. Tradition dictates that you should "drink Jól", and do so in beer. But these days people do not drink remotely as much as they did in the past, and it is even considered ok to not drink alcohol at all. Tradition is flexible to some extent, and so are the Danes.

John Lennon almost got it right, save for a single word:

So this is "Christmas" (no, Jól is what it is, ed.)
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun...

(*) That would be nights. Not evenings, not days; nights.the
(**) Again: not to offend. Just a touch of odd humour. The Christian church and the Coca-Cola company are the two entities that have influenced the contemporary idea/illusion/image of this season the most. Created it, even.

2017.12.21 15:37


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