Throughout the greater part of recorded history Icelanders were few and isolated in the middle of the North Atlantic, persisting in an all too hostile natural and social environment, where cold winds, general poverty and political exploitation prepared a frostbitten ground on which a strange and secluded people could only struggle to survive.
These natural, and social circumstances proved, however, to be a fertile poetic soil from which storytellers summoned countless peculiar myths and legends, which to this day strongly characterize the Icelandic national identity; despite having gone through the social and technological enlightenment fundamental to modernization, a great number of Icelanders still claim to believe in elves, trolls and hidden people, frequently mentioned in the Sagas and Icelandic mythology, supposedly living unseen in human company, and strengthening the people's connection to their natural environment.
The ever-diligent hands of time have molded Icelanders into a liberal heterogeneous tribe, celebrating freedom of expression and cultural diversity through drink and festivity. In the video above you can see a video from Reykjavík's annual Culture Night, a one-day free festival open to everyone every August.
Today our peaceful and hospitable people welcome visitors from all corners of the world to join in the gleeful adoration of magic and nature. Please treat us kindly.
Text by Magnus Bjorn Olafsson.