If you love books as much as we do, then you need to know about the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð. Throw in the magic of Christmas alongside it, and it’s every book lover’s dream.
The term Jólabókaflóð means ‘Yule Book Flood’. Iceland place huge importance on reading and storytelling, with one in ten of the 330,000 population publishing at least one book in their lifetime. Icelanders read more books per capita than any other people in the world. “We are a nation of storytellers. When it was dark and cold, we had nothing else to do” said Icelandic novelist Solvi Bjorn Siggurdson. (Like we needed another reason to visit!)
Every Christmas Eve, Icelanders exchange and gift books to one another, and then spend the remainder of the evening reading them. Sounds pretty blissful doesn’t it? Warm, cosy, eating chocolate, surrounded by your favourite people, and delving into a good book.
In the last year or so, this quiet, simple tradition has garnered more and more international attention. We’re hoping it catches on; it’s a tradition we’ll happily get behind.