New Year’s Eve is a big deal in Reykjavik, and it’s all about the fireworks. The rules prohibiting fireworks are relaxed on New Year’s Eve, and households gleefully purchase boxes of them for the celebrations, because we all love an explosion, deep down.
Periodically throughout the days preceding the event, random explosions took place, when “test” fireworks were detonated, usually followed by another few bursts by neighbouring homes, because
men people are inherently competitive.
It was our last full day in Reykjavik, but unless you want to walk about in the dark, there is not a great deal of point in getting up early, as it is not fully daylight until 11.00 am ish. There are 4.5 hours of true daylight at this time of year, with an extended twilight period either side. It’s a weird feeling as you lose that inherent sense of the time, so much so that I kept waking throughout the night, with no idea how long we had slept.
We headed down to the harbour, and came upon a fun run taking place where the competitors wore costumes. Darth Vadar made a brief appearance. His peripheral vision however,was somewhat impacted by his helmet, as was his gentleman’s region when colliding decisively with a bollard. We’ll take a moment here to sympathise.
The clear cold air seemed to amplify the colours. and the distant mountains were close enough to touch.
As darkness descended, the excitement level rose, and families headed to the frozen lake to allow the kids to ignite some of the tamer fireworks, whilst their fathers worked on sequential explosions of a larger kind.
The masters of the art are stationed at the foot of the spectacular Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral, with their arsenal of pyrotechnics. A continuous eruption of colour and noise will greet you, from all directions, including the odd stray horizontal spray of sparks, but what is a firework show after all, without that element of danger? We all remember those nights from our childhood. The deafening screech of roman candles, colliding with the rockets launched from the operator two feet away, well, its just incredible.
Remember that this is nearing midnight, its mid-winter, and its Iceland. So, rug up, its cold. Double glove, is my advice. Take a flask along for internal warmth. The crowd vibe is great, fireworks being an ageless attraction, so there are all ages watching with upturned faces.
As the hour strikes, the Cathedral chimes in the New Year. It will be one you will never forget.
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