It is the season to be jolly, and there’s arguably no better time of year for heart-warming and cheery news stories. The country stands still to celebrate Christmas with family and a whole lot of food; however, there are still some cute tidbits of news to put a smile on your face.  Read on for the quirkiest stories from Iceland from the last week.

See Also: Gender Equality in Iceland.

Eider Duck Rescue

An Eider duck living with a family of four.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Dave Hamster

A family of four in Reykjavík have adopted an injured, one-winged duck into their home. Originally attacked by a stray cat in the Westfjords of Iceland, the bird was left, to the family’s dismay, with only one working wing. Taking pity on their feathered friend, the family agreed it would be cruel to leave it to fend for itself and so decided to take it in.

See Also: Wildlife & Animals in Iceland.

Now living in Reykjavík, the duck is quite settled in the suburbs and although it has socialised with other ducks, it returns home every night to live with its adoptive family. Although it is quite happy to swim alongside other ducks at the local pond, she seems to prefer the television over camping out in the evenings.

The mother of the family comments that the duck behaves much like a dog and it even accompanies the household hound on walks around the neighbourhood. Half of the family is vegetarian and the other half are not avid bird eaters, so the duck’s future looks bright, even with one wing.

Iceland the Best for Gender Equality

Iceland, once again, ranks at the top for gender equality worldwide according to the World Economic Forum. For the past nine years, Iceland has warmed its seat leading this list and setting the standard for the rest of the world.

Iceland has long been a leader on the global stage for gender equality; in 1980 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir was elected president and became the first women in the world to be elected head of state in a national election. Furthermore, in 2009, Iceland was the first country to have an openly lesbian leader of government and a few years later, the first female bishop.

Efforts to close the gender gap include the Equal Pay Standard law, implemented earlier this year. It requires companies with over 25 members of staff to reveal records and prove that there is no gender gap between employees doing the same job. Although this has been a controversial accomplishment, it has brought gender equality as a topic for consideration into mainstream politics and policy-making.

Although leading the world table in gender equality, there is still a gender gap that needs to be closed. Hopefully, Iceland will continue to lead the way and go on to become the first country in the world to accomplish this.

First Icelandic Woman to Reach the South Pole

Photo Credit: Facebook/Ragnheiður Guðjónsdóttir

And talking of achievements for women, Ragnheiður Guðjónsdóttir became the first Icelandic woman to reach the South Pole in Antarctica on December 22nd. Alongside eight other Icelanders, Ragnheiður spent Christmas at the pole where temperatures reached a very chilly -23°C even when the sun was shining.

To celebrate the Yuletide festivities, the group put up some Christmas decorations and opened presents that they had brought with them. One thing that would have certainly been missed is the usual home-cooked festive feast that many Icelanders are used to. The group’s food supplies consist mainly of freeze-dried packets although they are rumoured to have had some bacon, which will have made for a tasty Christmas treat.

And they’ve earned it; the journey has not been easy, and the crew have had to battle through harsh high winds and a large amount of snow. On the other side of the planet, the adventurers are certainly not wanting for sun, in fact, quite the opposite. At a time when Iceland is plunged in darkness most of the day, the sun doesn’t go down in the South pole.

Due to return in January, the travelling troupe can apply their enhanced skillsets to navigating the glacial tundras of Iceland once more.