Bolludagur; an Icelandic Festival where Kids Spank their Parents for Cream Buns.


Bolludagur, literally bun day in Icelandic is the first of three days of delicious tasting celebrations. By reading our other articles on other festivals like Þorrablót you might imagine that all our festivals are about food…and you’d be correct.

Whilst many of our festivals involve a lot of smoked meat or fish, Bolludagar is suitable for vegetarians, and even vegans – the bakery Braud & co do a great line in vegan bollur.

Bolludagur is seven weeks before Easter so it doesn’t have a fixed date, this year it falls on Monday 15th Feb. However they will be celebrating on Sunday 14th as well, which this year – 2021 – also happens to be Valentines day! All the sweet treats! It’s the start of a three day holiday, the day after being ‘Sprengidagur’ – the explosion day, and Ash Wednesday.

A brilliant video on Bollurdagur from Reykjavik Grapevine

What are these buns that Bolludagur is named after?

Choux pastry, the type used to make profiteroles, is made into little balls, sliced through the middle, filled with cream and jam and then topped with chocolate. At least that is the classic, now there are many many varieties. However you have your buns you can guarantee that you will make a mess, but it will be entirely worth it!

Is this a religious festival?

In history yes…now…not really. Across the world there are many festivals around the start of the Christian festival of lent. The most famous being Mardi Gras, but there are also things like Pancake Day in the U.K. Bolludagur is a day that everyone celebrates for fun, and an excuse to eat treats!

Of course you can buy yourself a bun, or two, or three…Icelanders bake over a million of them on this day, so that’s about 3 per person, we totally get it if you want to pig out! But the traditional way to get a bun was to earn it.

How do I earn a bun on Bolludagur?

You get it by spanking someone with a colourful wand – a bolluvöndur -whilst shouting “Bolla! bolla! bolla!” Which means “Buns! Buns! Buns!” Then you get sweet buns for it! It tends to be what children do to their parents rather than adults spanking strangers, so maybe hold fire on joining in this aspect. However feel free to buy them and share them with your friends.

A delicious recipe for Bollur is available here.

If you enjoyed learning about Bolludagur why not learn out our strange Christmas foods here. Or better yet come and book a tour with us and we can tell you all sorts of things about Icelandic festivals and traditions in person.

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