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Iceland Mag


Photos: Today is "Öskudagur": A day when kids dress up and sing in exchange for candy

By Staff

  • Öskudagur in Iceland These young ladies visited Te & Kaffi at a local mall to sing in exchange for candy. Photo/Te og Kaffi, Instagram

Today  Icelanders celebrate "Öskudagur", a day when kids dress up in costumes and then visit stores and offices to sing in exchange for candy. Although the manner of observing Öskudagur does not seem to have much to do with Christianity, it is originally a Christian holiday, Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent.

A strange tradition involving bags filled with ashes
The Icelandic tradition surrounding this day is somewhat fanciful; Young women would try and pin little bags filled with ashes onto the back of the boy they fancied without the subject of their infatuation noticing. Young men would try and do the same, but with pouches filled with pebbles. 

Read more: Today is "Bolludagur": The peculiar Icelandic holiday "Cream Bun Day"

This tradition has disappeared in recent decades as Öskudagur has slowly become an Icelandic version of Halloween. In later years Öskudagur has to some extent become more like Halloween as kids dress up in costumes and go from store to store, singing in hopes of receiving candy. Most children will sing simple tunes taught in Kindergarten, but the more ambitious will compose their own lyrics to well known songs or even come up with more elaborate performances.

Some parents and grown-ups also join in on the fun! You can explore some of the costumes on Instagram

However, some Icelanders still observe the ash-bag tradition. The Icelandic Coast Guard posted this photo of it's vessel Týr, showing a bag of ashes someone had hung from the stern of the vessel:


As these photos demonstrate people are no less ambitious when it comes to observing the more modern version of the tradition!




#öskudagur #dragonprincess

A post shared by Stefania Mia Björgvinsdóttir (@stefania__mia) on






This #Jedi will be out and about today, so #maytheforcebewithyou #rey #starwars #reystarwars #öskudagur

A post shared by Linda Eiríksdóttir (@barbaknit) on






Öskudagur, the Icelandic halloween. A time to celebrate.

A post shared by Beit Productions (@beitproductions) on



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