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Konudagur – One half of Iceland’s take on Valentine’s day

Konudagur
Konudagur
Art by Carl L. PetersenOn display in the National Gallery of Iceland

Despite its popularity rising in the last few years, Valentine’s day isn’t traditionally celebrated in Iceland. That doesn’t mean we don’t have special days dedicated to our loved ones, in fact, we have two instead of one! Konudagur and Bóndadagur (woman’s day and husband’s day) are Iceland’s way of celebrating love but they’re different from Valentine’s day in one crucial way. Instead of celebrating the love between two individuals, they focus on celebrating the individuals in love.

Konudagur, in particular, is becoming increasingly competitive with Valentine’s day, since it usually lands within a week or two of it on the calendar. Now, you should already have celebrated husband’s day back in January but you still have a chance to switch your romantic celebrations to the Sunday after Feb 14th this year. Here are just some of the reasons Konudagur (and Bóndadagur) is far superior to Valentine’s day:

You get your day – without compromise!

Like I mentioned above, Bóndadagur and Konudagur focus on the individual instead of the couple. That means no compromise, you get to spend the day you want to do! The food, the activities, everything should be geared towards your preferences. Unless you’re a gay couple, that is, in which case you’re still going to have to share (We haven’t quite worked that one out yet).

There are two days of celebrations instead of one!

Need I say more? Valentine’s day makes you share a holiday, with Konudagur you get one for yourself. You wouldn’t like to share your birthday (unless you’re a twin), so why share your appreciation day?

No celebrating in the middle of the week!

Since Valentine’s day has a specific date, you might end up having to celebrate it after work on a Tuesday and have to cut the celebrations short if you have to get up early the next day. Bóndadagur is always on a Friday and Konudagur is always on a Sunday, giving you plenty of time to celebrate.

Come for the chocolate and flowers, stay for the worshipping of ancient weather deities!

Konudagur and bóndadagur are linked to the old Norse calendar. Bóndadagur marks the beginning of Þorri and Konudagur is the first day of Góa. These were the harshest winter months, so to try to get on their good side, the woman of the house would go outside on Bóndadagur and greet Þorri warmly, inviting him in. The men were supposed to do the same on Konudagur. This was supposed to ensure their mercy and prevent foul weather that would prolong winter. This has nothing to do with modern celebrations of Konudagur, it just means that Konudagur has a more interesting origin story than Valentine’s day.