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Easter Iceland

A Guide to Icelandic Easter Holidays

As in most countries, Easter in Iceland is an interesting mix of religious and pagan holidays. The church’s designated Easter days are official holidays and it’s the most popular time of the year for confirmations, a Christian rite of passage most 14-year-olds go through.

In Iceland, there are four bank holidays in a row, creating a five-day weekend every year. Easter is coming up, so read our guide to Icelandic Easter holidays.

Maundy Thursday, April 18

Confirmations are popular rites of passage for 14-year-olds in Iceland. Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday are the days most confirmations take place, which means most people in Iceland spend these days attending family parties thrown in honour of these confirmations.

Good Friday, April 19

Good Friday is traditionally a day of solemn contemplation where fun and games is not only discouraged, it’s actually illegal. The Icelandic atheist society hosts an annual game of bingo in protest, since bingo is one of the games specifically mentioned in the laws banning fun on Good Friday.

Easter Sunday, April 21

The most important part of the Easter celebrations takes place on the morning of Easter Sunday, when people look for hidden chocolate Easter eggs. Some families plan elaborate Easter egg hunts with a trail of clues leading to the chocolaty prize, others are content to just hide the eggs around the house. Family dinners where lamb takes the central role are also popular.

Easter Monday, April 22

This day actually has no significance and no traditions. It’s just an extra holiday for people to finish what’s left of their Easter eggs or recover from eating a whole chocolate Easter egg filled with Icelandic candy the day before.

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