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Ash Wednesday for haters

06.03.2019 - 11:49
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 Mynd: Ágúst Ólafsson - RÚV
Today is Ash Wednesday (Öskudagur) when children in most parts of Iceland rove around in fancy dress, singing for candy. This year, the likes of Harry Potter, purple dogs, surgeons, and giant household appliances are joined by hundreds of leather-clad ‘haters’ inspired by the success of the band Hatari, who will compete for Iceland at Eurovision in May.

Most costume shops in Iceland had little on offer in the way of spikes and leather straps for children, so home-made designs prevail and work has been underway in many households for days. 

The Partýbúðin costume shop did have a ‘Hatari corner,’ but “All the spikes and collars are long gone,” the shop manager said yesterday. “Whole workplaces have come here to buy for everyone at work,” she added. 

So don’t be alarmed today if you see bands of children dressed very peculiarly: it’s just Ash Wednesday.  

Unlike Halloween, Ash Wednesday costumes do not have to be scary. You could easily see a princess, Spiderman, a toilet, and a Hatari-inspired leather-clad child walking together down the street. It’s normal. Really. 

Monday was Bolludagur, when cream buns are eaten in huge quantities. 

Tuesday was Sprengidagur (Bursting Day), Shrove Tuesday, when salt lamb and bean stew is eaten in huge quantities. 

Today is Öskudagur (Ash Wednesday), when children dress up and sing at shops and other businesses for candy...which they will eat in huge quantities. 

The three days mark the start of the countdown to the Easter holiday. Lent begins today and ends at Easter, six weeks from now.

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