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The Unusual Celebration of Thorrablot

Updated on January 2, 2015
Morning in Iceland
Morning in Iceland | Source

Enjoy an Icelandic Celebration - if you're game!

You just can't beat a good Celebration - the anticipation, the gift-giving, the music and the mouth-watering traditional foods to mark the special occasion.

Thorrablot is no exception.

The Icelandic Midwinter festival extends from 19 - 25 January, the old month of Thorri, and originally honoured Thor. You don't have to wave a hammer about to have a good time and, even better, you don't have to actually eat the traditional food.

P.S No, you don't eat the little Icelandic pony!

Thorramatur - Tempting and Tasty Traditional Food for Thorrablot

Thorramatur is the traditional Icelandic food served for the Thorrablot feast, held on the first Friday after 19 January.

For the midwinter feast, serve what was normal day-to-day food for Vikings. Choose natural food that's been smoked, steeped in sour milk, salted, dried or kaestur (rotted meat).

Kaestur Hakari - A pleasant dish of putrefied Shark, prepared by burying it for several weeks and then hanging up to dry out. Chop it (you will need a small axe) into cubes

Svith - A smoky-flavoured snack of singed and boiled sheep head. First burn away (svitha) all the wool from the head before cooking. Chop the head in half (once again with your handy axe), remove the brains and set aside for breakfast. Boil the head for an hour or so.

Svithasulta - Brawn made from Svith. Chop the meat from the cooked head, press into a mold and allow to cool. This shouldn't take long in the Icelandic mid-winter. The liquid then turns into jelly. Delicious fresh!

Svith

Tasty Svith
Tasty Svith | Source

More Toothsome full-flavoured food for Thorrablot

Lifrarpylsa - Sausage made from the offal and liver of sheep and kneaded with rye flour

Sursathir hrutspungar - Testicles of rams pressed into blocks, boiled and fermented in sour milk. Very tasty!

Hangikjot - This is hung mutton and often eaten raw. You can also smoke and boil it. Your choice.

Selshreifar - Seal Flippers, also fermented in sour milk.


Lifrapylsa

Luscious Lifrapylsa
Luscious Lifrapylsa | Source
Diamond Select Toys Marvel Select: Thor Action Figure
Diamond Select Toys Marvel Select: Thor Action Figure

A little dust-collector ideal as a table centrepiece for your own Thorramatur.

 

What? You don't like the traditional food?

You can always go for the Icelandic rye bread instead. Forego the luscious lifrapylasa and the succulence of svith ... stick to eating black bread.

This may be a better idea all round.

This traditional bread was often made by filling pots with the dough, sealing the lids, and steaming the pots in geothermal springs.

If you can't locate a handy geothermal spring, bake in a very slow oven or use your crockpot. I prefer my bread machine.

Here's a Recipe for Rugbrauth

Don't want to feast your stomach? Then feast your eyes

Who was it said "Close your eyes and think of England" ?

Here's some different interior scenery, close your eyes and think of Iceland.

Stunning Icelandic Scenes - Images from wikipedia

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Eyjafjallajokull glacierNordfjordurGeysirVidey with Esjan in the backgroundTraditional Turf home
Eyjafjallajokull glacier
Eyjafjallajokull glacier
Nordfjordur
Nordfjordur
Geysir
Geysir
Videy with Esjan in the background
Videy with Esjan in the background
Traditional Turf home
Traditional Turf home

Want some more ideas?

Some more ideas for your Thorramatur in these enticing photographs below.

More Traditional Icelandic Treats

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Music for Thorrablot

Post
Post

Bjork is an acquired taste, just like Icelandic traditional food. Short and snappy songs (although they may seem a lot longer) and an added touch of reality for your celebration.

 

These traditional dishes may not appeal to you.

To be honest, they don't appeal to me and the pictures certainly don't help. Vegetarians will recoil in horror but there were no vegetarians in ninth century Iceland.

These traditional foods are examples of the diet of hard-working, frugal people who survived, and thrived, in a rugged geologically active island and their diet produced hale and hearty citizens.

For more than eleven hundred years, these people lived on a small island just outside the Arctic Circle, an island made up of sand and lava fields, mountains, glaciers and glacial rivers.

How do you find food in a country like this? The traditional method of storing meat by submerging it in fermented whey certainly worked for them. I feel awe and admiration for those early settlers and for the Icelanders today,

I'm going to eat a light meal of smoked cod on dark rye bread this Thorrablot and raise a glass of Brennivin (Iceland's strong schnapps) in respect.

How about you?

Will you celebrate Thorrablot with the traditional Icelandic food?

See results

© 2012 Susanna Duffy

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    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 4 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Yep, those dishes don't look any more appealing second time around. I'll stick to the rye bread, thanks!

    • blue22d profile image

      blue22d 4 years ago

      Interesting lens - the name sucked me in. Sorry, but yuck. Just doesn't even look good. I am wimp.

    • mariacarbonara profile image

      mariacarbonara 4 years ago

      Mmmmm sheep head. Yummy. Interesting lens

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 5 years ago from Burbank, CA

      I love Bjork and would do almost anything to have dinner with her but if this is what was on the menu I wouldn't be so excited! Great lens! I learned something about Icelandic food I never knew! Thank you

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 5 years ago

      I don't suppose this lens will have converted many vegetarians back to meat :)

    • CuAllaidh profile image

      Jeff Johnston 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      My family likes to do culture nites from time to time, maybe we'll have do some of these.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 5 years ago from New Zealand

      This holiday would be great for my diet - as I think I would be unable to eat for weeks after it. Who would have thought raw mutton would be one of the more appetizing things on any plate. Love this page - interesting and unusual. Blessed.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 5 years ago from New Zealand

      @Elle-Dee-Esse: Lynne - you don't make it sound very appealing :)

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 5 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      Whilst enjoying the delights of the Scandinavian region you could stop in to Sweden for some Surstroming (fermented herring) the smell of which apparently is so foul the tin must be opened outdoors under a running tap.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Oh, I never knew about this Thorrablot . . not really my taste, but hey, it's a celebration never-the-less.

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 5 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      I think perhaps a generous swig of Vodka is the medicine you'd need to help get through this meal. Fascinating!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love the idea of celebration, good food and meeting people. Man is a social animal and there are many good reasons to celebrate, enjoyed reading Thorrablot.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      Huh, I had no idea such a thing even existed. I'm always one for a good celebration though so looks like I found this lens just in time. I know what I'll be doing in four days!

    • damoiselle profile image

      damoiselle 5 years ago

      That's just a *little* bit more friendly with a ram than I want to get.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      More of your glorious magic I see.. Love your lenses!! Angel blessed,

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 5 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      A visit to Iceland, yes. Eating? Probably not.

    • OzGirl LM profile image

      OzGirl LM 5 years ago

      I would have died very young if I were born back then. Gross. :-p But a very interesting read! Well done.

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      Thank, God, I wasn't born a Viking! Ugh!

    • victoriuh profile image

      victoriuh 5 years ago

      Wow, never heard of it. I love to party but I don't think I am up for svith!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 5 years ago

      Will have to go with the black bread, Susanna. Not that crazy about any meat I didn't learn to eat as a child...no new meats for me, but if I were to do it, and could get over the "display," I believe svith would be unforgettable. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nice lens. I often wanted to go to Iceland. It looks so beautiful there.

    • profile image

      baby-strollers 5 years ago

      Cool lens, very unique information. I will not be enjoying Testicles of rams anytime soon however.

    • Pat Broker profile image

      Pat Broker 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Love your unusual lens! Think I'll pass on the traditional food though.

    • coolgrey profile image

      coolgrey 5 years ago

      I have always wanted to visit Iceland but will be sure not to go there during Thorrablot...lol. I do love your photographs of both the food and the Icelandic scenery. Cheers!

    • WildAnimalTattoos profile image

      WildAnimalTattoos 5 years ago

      I am a big believer of When in Rome... so if in Iceland I would try it but wouldn't really like raw meat. Great lens though I hadn't heard of this festival so its nice to learn something new.

    • ViJuvenate profile image

      ViJuvenate 5 years ago

      Um.... I really liked the photo of the beautiful outdoor scenery. LOL Wow - that's some dinner!

    • profile image

      seosmm 5 years ago

      Love the Icelandic Scenic photos. Very nice lens!

    • profile image

      editionh 5 years ago

      Thanks for this wonderful recipes, which made my plans for a visit on the iceland's obsolete. I prefer chimpanzee cheesecake.

    • profile image

      CatJGB 5 years ago

      Oy, you'd need a tough stomach for that lot these days. Love the picture of the pony, that looks soooooo cold!

    • SiochainGraSonas profile image

      SiochainGraSonas 5 years ago

      I don't think I could eat any of the items described. That was a bit much for me. Interesting lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      As a vegetarian - those dishes don't appeal one bit and even if I was a meat eater I think I might also pass - lol! Interesting lens though.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Seeing the sheep's facial expression in the svith photo was a bit much for me to think about trying it. Maybe if someone cut me a tiny piece to try without telling me what it was, I'd try a bite. I ate goat stomach or something similar at a Korean BBQ place that way. Great lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      Too bad my New Year's resolution is to not eat rotted meat, testicles, or offal. Darn. That means I'll have to pass on these delicacies. Please pass the bread. This is quite the celebration you have found and featured here. Kudos for what surely must rank as the most unique celebratory meal of the ages.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      Well i am a food lover... but I would have to admit, unless i wasn't told what it was... I would never try it.

      Very interesting though all of the traditional foods out there that people actually eat.

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 5 years ago

      Yea- learned something new today...Honestly, if someone else enjoys these dishes, I probably would too! Some of us enjoy oysters and they look terrible! Nice Lens!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      No thanks, on the food -- pass the bread, please! An interesting review of the celebration Thorrablot, though. Learned something new today. :)

      BTW, I have a friend who has a 20-something son named Thor.

    • Shana rios Chavez profile image

      Shana rios Chavez 5 years ago

      nice lens thanks

    • grannyann lm profile image

      Ann Scaling Tucker 5 years ago from Enid, OK

      I really enjoyed your lens. One of my distant relatives in England said she thought our ancestors were some of those Vikings who raped and pillaged and probably ate some of that stuff, ugh I'd pillage also for something different to eat.

    • MCB2011 profile image

      MCB2011 5 years ago

      I can see why they may have these foods in Iceland. But I don't live there! A very well done lens. I love the pictures of Iceland, but I will pass on the plates! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      might have to close my eyes as I take a bite but I would try it.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image
      Author

      Susanna Duffy 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @LiteraryMind: This page is about one day of the year when Icelanders pay homage to their ancestors by eating what they ate

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Why? Why eat these foods. I have been to Iceland and their fish is incredibly fresh tasting. When I first came home, I couldn't eat US fish. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Some pretty fierce cuisine here - I'd probably try some of it though. Particularly the Lifrarpylsa, after all, if I enjoy haggis, I don't see a reason I wouldn't enjoy that, necessarily. :) Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • profile image

      collectors-corner 5 years ago

      Pass the rye bread please. Forget the rest. Now that I have read description of all these Icelandic delicacies I will never be able to eat any of them. Ignorance is a bliss.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Ah... yuck on the traditional Icelandic food. I am amazed that many folks there did not pass away from food poisoning (hmmm? But then of course perhaps they did?). I am glad that the countryside of Iceland and your images of it were so beautiful because they sort of took the sting off of the meals ;)

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I couldn't take the poll because I'm not even fond of rye bread. In general, I haven't gotten chummy yet with any foods from far North. Delightful lens, though.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Thanks for the introduction to this special celebration with its special food! I'll be enjoying my rye bread... Blessed

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Kaestur Hakari sounds like an interesting dish! I like the combination of the words - 'pleasant' dish of 'putrefied' Shark! I guess I am certainly coming across a pleasantly putrified dish for the first time! :)

    • profile image

      SandyPaw 5 years ago

      Shark might be alright. Burying it and then hanging it up is just like keeping it in a frig, right?

    • Frugal Bride profile image

      Frugal Bride 5 years ago

      Ew! So relieve to hear that you can celebrate Thorrablot without having to eat traditional icelandic dishes.

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 5 years ago from Cyprus

      Now that is completely new to me. Cool - you're bringing it to the Jan celebration quest?

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Looks like a lovely festive occasion but the food looks a bit gross then again probable tastes delish.

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 5 years ago

      Wonderful! Just the kind of traditional celebration I love to learn more about! Not too sure about the food... but I'll take that gorgeous scenery :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      How exotic! This would be a nice change of pace after all the Thanksgiving and Christmas foods we've been eating.