The Icelandic Holiday That Celebrates The Sun With Coffee And Pancakes

Few things bring more pleasure to mornings than inhaling the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and digging into a stack of pancakes. The sense of comfort this pairing offers is universal. While several cultures around the globe incorporate coffee and pancakes within their standard breakfast rituals, some places also view them as a meaningful, celebratory grub. Take the country of Iceland, for instance.

The Nordic country nestled between Greenland and Norway experiences its fair share of darkness from November through late January. According to Guide to Iceland, this natural phenomenon, during which people only see a few hours of daylight within a 24-hour period, is caused by its closeness to the Arctic Circle. The town of Ísafjörður is encompassed by mountains, which block the sun for two months.

Every January, many Icelanders look forward to a momentous occasion: the return of sunlight. Icelandic residents honor the sun's long-awaited homecoming by sipping on coffee and cooking pancakes.  

Sólardagur is an Icelandic holiday to welcome back the sun

Sólarkaffi — which translates to "sun coffee," per Icelandic Roots — is a joyous tradition for the people of Ísafjörður. Above all, seeing the sun after two months of twilight is quite liberating. On Sólardagur ("Sun Day"), which falls on or around January 25, friends and families gather to greet the sun once again, along with coffee and pancakes.

So, why are pancakes the nourishment of choice for sólarkaffi? According to Gastro Obscura, they resemble the sun. Icelandic pancakes, known as pönnukökur, are similar to thin crepes and are often topped with jam, whipped cream, and sugar. As far as coffee, well ... what a perfect drink to enliven the senses, right? IcelandAir explains that while the country's beauty is visible year-round, the celebration of sólarkaffi provides locals with hope for sunnier days and positivity.

Other cities that observe Sólardagur include Bolungarvík, Suðureyri,, Siglufjörður, Ólafsfjörður, Seyðisfjörður, Reyðarfjörður, and Eskifjörður. Gleðilega sólrisu! (Merry sunrise!)