Icelanders celebrate a few uniquely Icelandic holidays, one such day is known as Konudagurinn, which directly translates to ‘Women’s day’ or ‘Wife Day’.
Last month we had Bóndadagurinn, aka ‘Husband’s day’, this time it’s women’s turn. If you have a special woman in your life, Sunday the 24th is the day to make her feel appreciated.
Women’s day happens once a year on a Sunday in the week of 18th-24th of February. The day marks the beginning of Góa, one of the months of the old Icelandic calendar. Konudagurinn was first included in a printed calendar in 1927 but sources point to the tradition having started many decades earlier.
The month of Góa takes the baton from the coldest of the winter months, Þorri. In Norse Mythology, Þorri was the father of Góa. The month of Þorri is known for being the harshest of the winter months and people have feasts known as Þorrablót throughout the month. Such celebrations in the month of Góa are lesser known.
There is, however, a story about Góa, the daughter of Þorri, where she’s said to have eloped with a boy after a Þorrablót, the traditional Þorri celebration. Her father held another party the following month to gather information about her whereabouts, this was called Góublót but the tradition never really caught on.
Góa is the penultimate of the winter months. Its arrival is a reminder that the days are getting longer and spring is around the corner, although the weather might disagree. There is a 17th-century poem which indicates that during this month, Góa would show up at farms and inspect the pantry. Presumably to check how the housewives were doing their part and keeping everyone fed.
Similarly to the Husband’s day, the tradition is to start the first day of Góa by going outside and welcoming the month into the home. There is some disagreement whether the husband or the wife of the house should do the welcoming, this depends on what part of the country you’re in.
In the modern day, it’s a tradition for Icelandic people give the women in their lives bouquets of flowers on Konudagurinn. The first appearance of an advertisement for special women’s day bouquets was in a newspaper in 1957. Some go above and beyond just flowers and treat the woman they love to something nicer, like a meal at a nice restaurant, similar to Valentine’s day.
You might want to treat the woman in your life to some pampering. Some ideas for your consideration: Take her to brunch, a classic Sunday activity. Invite her to a relaxing day at a spa, or at the very least a hot tub at one of Iceland’s excellent swimming pools. Make her hot chocolate, with extra marshmallows cause she’s so sweet.