Friday, February 19, 2010

Icelandic vs. Austrian celebrations before fasting

Fasching season in Austria begins on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and stays until Ash Wednesday.  In recent year has the ball season though started on Jan. 1.  Fasching comes from Fastnacht, the season before the Lenten fast or possibly Fastentrunk, the drink that in old days was consumed before the beginning of the fast. On Faschings Dienstag (Shrove Tuesday) people dress up and eat Krapfen, a pastry of yeast dough fried in either fat or oil, dusted with sugar or iced and injected with a jam filling after being cooked. On Ash Wednesday (Aschermittwoch) begins forty days of Lent, a Christian religion which demands abstinence from food and other things until Easter.

In Iceland we also had a week of celebration, despite being Lutheran.

Bolludagur, where we eat cream buns filled withwhipped cream and melted chocolate. On Bun Day, children spank their parents with colorful handmade bun wands, or bolluvöndur saying "Bolla bolla bolla". These are decorated with strips of paper and gleaming ribbon. 

Sprengidagur, Bursting Day, is the Tuesday before lent, where we eat a customary meal of Saltkjöt og baunir (salted meat and split pea soup). The motto is to eat until you burst. 

Öskudagur or Ash Wednesday, children dress up in costumes and go to stores around town to sing for candy. Before it was customary to hang ash bags on people''s backs without them noticing. Sadly the ash bag tradition has almost completely vanished but other traditions like beating the candy out of the barrel has survived.

Since I´m Icelandic I prefer the Icelandic ones, since i dont like krapfen and not many dress up in Vienna, so there is no point to the Austrian holiday.

I used to enjoy these holidays more as a kid because you got a treat each day, ending in a costume, singing for candy. In my days we did do the ash bags, it was really fun to put them on people when they didn´t notice. I hope they keep that tradition, as well as the bun wands, i dont see it done that much anymore. Too bad. BOLLA BOLLA BOLLA!

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