December 31, 2003
New Years Eve 2004
in Iceland
Back to the News
Click on Photo
for Full Size
Gleðilegt nýtt ár
Happy New Year
It's 11:00 a.m. in Garðabær, Ísland.
My overnight flight arrived less than four hours ago.
The sun is coming up.
By 12:45 p.m. it is as high as it is going to get.
It's a sunny day, but not for long since the sun sets by 3:30 p.m. There's time for a nap.
By 10:00 p.m. in the Breiðholt part of Reykjavík, Ísland, a buffet is ready at the home of Þorvaldur "Olli" Þórsson and Ástdís "Dísa" Sveinsdóttir.
The seasonal drink, Jólaöl, a mixture of malt extract and orange soda, is on the table.
Early fireworks are already going off but at 10:30 p.m. Iceland falls silent. Everyone all over Iceland is watching the same program on TV, Áramótaskaup, The New Years Eve Annual News Comedy Satire, much like Saturday Night Live sketches with broad strokes taken at the Icelandic politicians. With everyone watching TV the streets everywhere are quiet. No fireworks while it is on.
But the fireworks in all of the homes are ready. These are huge fireworks, not your usual home style variety.
In Iceland everyone is allowed to buy and set off fireworks, but only during New Years. The non-profit rescue squads are the only ones licensed to sell fireworks, and this is how they raise their funds. So instead of one fireworks show at one spot like is done in the US, the fireworks are set off by everyone all over all evening with the best nonstop show going from 11:45 p.m. - 12:15 p.m.
The fireworks are everywhere, all around.
You just look anywhere out our window.
It's a spectacular show wherever you look.
It's like being in a surround sound theatre with screens on all four walls and ceiling too.
Even flares get into the show with both father and son, Olli and Þór.
The colors of the night reflect off the fireworks smoke.
In this home, just before midnight, you get onto a chair, and get ready to jump. At exactly midnight everyone literally jumps into the new year with hugs and kisses and handshakes all around.
And it keeps getting better and better. . .
All evening long.
By 1:00 a.m. it's time to sit around and chat, left to right, Sæmundur, Sigrún, her mother Dísa, and Dísa's sister-in-law, and the painter Gunnella, who is the illustrator for Bruce's forthcoming book, The Problem with Chickens.
And even set off one last indoor party firecracker for the maid (also known as the husband) to clean up.
Gleðilegt nýtt ár
Happy New Year
What kind of camera did I use to take these photos?
A simple easy-to-use point and shoot digital camera.

Click to see camera details...
Canon S400
Back to the News