Thorlac's mass

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Mass of St. Thorlac (Þorláksmessa (Icelandic pronunciation:  [ˈθɔrlauxsˌmɛsːa] ), is an Icelandic holiday celebrated on December 23. It is a celebration in honor of Þorlákur Þórhallsson, bishop of Skálholt, who was canonized and recognized as the patron saint of Iceland in 1984, centuries after his death on December 23, 1193. The day is also celebrated in the Faroe Islands, where it's called Tollaksmessa (Faroese pronunciation:  [ˈtʰɔtlaksˌmɛsːa] ).

Iceland Island republic in Northern Europe

Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 360,390 and an area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with Reykjavík and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country being home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterised by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude almost entirely outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.

Saint Thorlak Thorhallsson, also spelled Thorlac, is the patron saint of Iceland. He was bishop of Skalholt from 1178 until his death. Thorlac's relics were translated to the cathedral of Skálholt in 1198, not long after his successor as bishop, Páll Jónsson, announced at the Althing that vows could be made to Thorlac. His status as a saint did not receive official recognition from the Catholic Church until January 14, 1984, when John Paul II canonized him and declared him the patron saint of Iceland. His feast day is December 23.

Faroe Islands Archipelago in the North Atlantic and an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Denmark

The Faroe Islands, or the Faeroe Islands, is a North Atlantic archipelago located 320 kilometres (200 mi) north-northwest of Scotland, and about halfway between Norway and Iceland. It is an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark. The islands have a total area of about 1,400 square kilometres (540 sq mi) with a population of 51,783 as of June 2019.


In modern times, Þorláksmessa has become part of Christmas: on the 23rd, many people finish decorating their houses and the Christmas tree, and buy Christmas presents. On Þorláksmessa evening in Reykjavík, many go out and stroll down Laugavegur.

Christmas holiday originating in Christianity, usually celebrated on December 25 (in the Gregorian or Julian calendars)

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.

Reykjavík Capital and largest city in Iceland

Reykjavík is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is located in southwestern Iceland, on the southern shore of Faxaflói bay. Its latitude is 64°08' N, making it the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state. With a population of around 128,793, it is the center of Iceland's cultural, economic and governmental activity, and is a popular tourist destination.

Laugavegur (Reykjavík) commercial artery

Laugavegur is the primary commercial artery of downtown Reykjavík, Iceland and one of the oldest shopping streets. The name means "wash road", as it used to lead to the hot springs in Laugardalur where in olden times the women of Reykjavík took their laundry for washing.

In Iceland it is customary to eat buried and fermented skate along with potatoes on Þorláksmessa; in recent years, this custom is something that most people do not like the smell off, but eat because this is a celebrated tradition. The ammonia-infused odor of fermented skate is quite strong, similar to that of hákarl. [1]

Skate (fish) family of fishes

Skates are cartilaginous fish belonging to the family Rajidae in the superorder Batoidea of rays. More than 150 species have been described, in 17 genera. Softnose skates and pygmy skates were previously treated as subfamilies of Rajidae, but are now considered as distinct families. Alternatively, the name "skate" is used to refer to the entire order of Rajiformes.

Ammonia Chemical compound of nitrogen and hydrogen

Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3. A stable binary hydride, and the simplest pnictogen hydride, ammonia is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent smell. It is a common nitrogenous waste, particularly among aquatic organisms, and it contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or indirectly, is also a building block for the synthesis of many pharmaceutical products and is used in many commercial cleaning products. It is mainly collected by downward displacement of both air and water. Ammonia is named for the Ammonians, worshipers of the Egyptian god Amun, who used ammonium chloride in their rituals.

Hákarl A national dish of Iceland consisting of fermented shark

Hákarl is a national dish of Iceland consisting of a Greenland shark or other sleeper shark which has been cured with a particular fermentation process and hung to dry for four to five months. Fermented shark has a strong ammonia-rich smell and fishy taste.

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  1. "First, pickle your testicles ..." Archived from the original on 2008-04-01.