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The hell is this thing called Thorrablot in Iceland?

Hungry? Well, this is one of the delicacies on offer at Thorrablot in Iceland. PIC Salvor

Hungry? Well, this is one of the delicacies on offer at Thorrablot in Iceland. PIC Salvor

Last year marked the very first one we invited a few visiting foreigners to join us for the weird yearly winter festival in Iceland called Thorrablot. Yeah, try that on for size. Even better, try the Icelandic word itself: Þorrablót. Say that loud and fast three times and very good luck to you too.

All the foreigners in question were broad-minded people interested in local customs and up for most anything. But 90 per cent of them had left the building after a couple of hours and some lasted no more than 60 minutes.

„where people gather around long-tables in wooded sheds and eat and drink like its 1999 or 999 in their case“

By now you are either becoming very interested in knowing more or have already flipped over to the latest Miley Cyrus video. In the latter case we thank you for your short visit but for the stickers let us explain.

Thorrablot is a custom dating from viking times. Even the name is a viking name. Thorri, or Þorri in Icelandic, was the name of the month from mid-January to mid-February back in the day for the fair vikings and that meant a time to throw a party. God knows why cold and windswept vikings thought it great to party in the absolutely blackest and coldest time of the year. Or perhaps that was the very reason.

When we say viking party we mean the kind of „party“ you see in all those Hollywood pics where people gather around long-tables in wooded sheds and eat and drink like its 1999 or 999 in their case. In viking time this was also a good time to mate and that sometimes followed right after dinner wherever there was empty space on the floor. Yet, most people are very proud of this heritage.

In any case, the custom has survived with a few modern adjustments and without sex on the floor. These events are held everywhere in the land and a number of restaurants offer Thorrablot menu over this time also. But trying Thorrablot food in a restaurant is like visiting Bordeaux for anyone not drinking. A waste of everything.

And the food plays a big part of Thorrablot. And no ordinary food at that. Even hardcore locals would´t dream of eating some of the stuff on offer here. But looks can be deceiving and even the dish called Slatur, pictured above, is quite tasty as long as you do not ask what is is. That goes for most delicacies on offer at Thorrablot in Iceland.

Apart from the foods serious alcohol consumption is expected and we´re not talking about water-like beer stuff either. Nope. Here you drink the ole viking stuff like Black death or Brennivin both of whom are horrible locally brewed liquor. Think vodka but with much worse taste. Naturally, you´re also expected to love it to prove your man- or womanhood.

But Thorrablot is also about making fun of your neighbors. A local ready-made comedian will make some speeches about the people attending. Yeah, this is literally local shit.

While it is hard for visitors to gain entrance to one of the real Thorrablot in Iceland team Total Iceland will try to accommodate those interested. Get in touch for details but no later than the end of December please. totaliceland at totaliceland.com

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