In Iceland people light candles for the huldufólk, hidden elves, during New Year’s Eve to help the huldufólk find a new home for the year.


There are four Icelandic holidays considered to have a special connection with hidden people: New Year’s Eve, Thirteenth Night (January 6), Midsummer Night and Christmas night. Elf bonfires (álfabrennur) are a common part of the holiday festivities on Twelfth Night (January 6). There are many Icelandic folktales about elves and hidden people invading Icelandic farmhouses during Christmas and holding wild parties. It is customary in Iceland to clean the house before Christmas, and to leave food for the huldufólk on Christmas. On New Year’s Eve, it is believed that the elves move to new locations, and Icelanders leave candles to help them find their way. On Midsummer Night, folklore states that if you sit at a crossroads, elves will atte… Continue Reading (8 minute read)

14 thoughts on “In Iceland people light candles for the huldufólk, hidden elves, during New Year’s Eve to help the huldufólk find a new home for the year.”

  1. EgNotaEkkiReddit

    Well, this is and is not true.

    It is *not* true in the sense that we explicitly *do not believe in elves*, but also *we do not light candles* specifically as part of elf-derived traditions anymore.

    However it *is* true that we, on the New years and Thirteenth will light big-ass bonfires around the country which are traditionally called “Álfabrennur” but are more commonly referred to simply as “áramótabrennur” (New-years bonfires) and can be traced back to traditions related to elves. However in the modern age the bonfires are simply wrapped in to the surrounding new-years celebration and serve as an excuse to get together, look at a large wooden pile burn to ashes, and get wasted once the kids have left the area – and frankly any excuse to set stuff on fire and get drunk is good enough for most people.

  2. zappy487


  3. spankpaddle

    The source for this fact is brought to you by The Oregonian paper circa 1995.

    THE premier source for Icelandic History, culture and folklore.

  4. brock_lee

    Why not just build huldufólk houses. Make a competition out of it. Fanciest house builder gets … extra alcohol.

  5. AssCumBoi

    It’s a very old tradition that probably no one here upholds now a days. We do have bonfires at new year’s but that’s only around a 220 old tradition and not really related to the huldufólk but elves.

    But no one does that and these bonfires are just cozy and warm and look cool. Icelanders tell tourists a whole lot of bullshit lol. Probably no one lights these candles anymore. Plus no one here believes in elves or huldufólk. The studies that show that, were skewed by asking too few people and the numbers look like that because not everyone would say they don’t exist (just in case).

    Plus many businesses meant for catering to tourists are ripping them off big time. For example, the bus rides to show you the northern lights. You can literally see them well almost everywhere, and if you want to see them you better go somewhere where there isn’t as much light pollution yourself. Like in a suburban park or something.

    Tl:dr, Probably no one lights the candles and we don’t believe in elves or huldufólk. People in the tourism business here tell foreigners a lot of bullshit.

  6. falloutboy9993

    Anyone see Markipliers 3 Scary Games with Huldufolk?

  7. nitelight7

    The housing prices have really gone too far now…

  8. Cho42

    Makes me think of the Nisse from Hilda.

  9. Classic_Contract7560

    Any Hilda fans in the comments?

  10. Estrellapiwopils

    I also listen to the sick and wrong podcast.

    That icelandic lady was very nice!

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