ICELAND – “Thorrablot” Festival

ICELAND – “Thorrablot” Festival

The Icelandic part of the “Celebrating Seasons” projet was hosted by Margret Hallmundsdottir who is with the Vestfjords Natural History Institute (NAVE). The purpose of NAVE is to research the nature fo the Vestfjords through studying the Biology, Environment research and Archaeology of the area and making the findings available to the public through their Education programme for adult learners. Their aim is to create jobs in this remote part of Iceland by helping to provide new opportunities in the Vestfjords area. The Institue is located in the small rural village of Bolungarvik in the West fjords of Iceland. Over the last 20 years, people have been moving away from the villages in the area, Most of this movement is the younger people leaving to enter Higher Education and not returning. The area also has poor transport links which leads to isolation. Changes in the fishing industry are contributing to a poor local economy.

The result of these problems is that the age of the remaining population is higher and the younger population do not get the chance to return as there is no work for them to return to. In order for the fishing industry to survive in these remote locations, immigrants have travelled to work in this area. This programme is aimed at the remaining and the immigrant populations of the area.

In February 2011, the participants of “Celebrating Seasons” went to Iceland and were welcomed by Margret and the Icelandic participants of the project. The celebration that the group were to take part in was the “Thorrablot” festival- the Viking Midwinter Festival. The group travelled visited places such as:

Heydalur, where the group learnt about the geology of the area and local stories and folklore.

Ísafjörður, which is the biggest town in the area, and Bolungarvík for a bit of exploring and visitng the Natural History Museum

Hólmavík village followed in the evening by Þorrablót (Thorrablot) back at Haydalur, which was the Viking themed food festival that included courses from all over Iceland, including shark.

The group then went back to Reykjavik.