Icelandic religion(faith) and bb = “bizarre beliefs”…:-)

motto:“I simply believe that 2 people can’t have the same religion. This is something very personal.”(Björk – Icelandic musician)

First of all, the Icelanders are rather tolerant than a religious nation, and they never mention their faith – therefore, it’s not an unwelcome topic – like politics! 🙂 Converted to Christianity around the year 1000, they’ve adopted Lutheranism, imposed by the Danes during the 16th century. Like all Scandinavians, and a great number of Dutch and Germans, they are Protestants of Lutheran confession. There are churches everywhere, even in completely isolated spots, often empty! I’ve admired their originality: a surprising design and an “avant-garde architecture” – mostly inspired by the geology of the island… Even though it’s a super-modern and technologically advanced country – almost everyone has a cellphone and access to the internet – in the remotest corners of the island, their belief in the supernatural forces is still deeply rooted… and for good reasons!

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According to extremely significant recent statistics, the majority of Icelandic inhabitants admit they believe in ghosts(spirits), goblins, elves, etc… they call them “hidden people”! 🙂 It occurs occasionally to divert the course of a road under construction – IF the locals think it might cross their territory!!! Obvious & surrealistic evidence: in 2004, during the construction of an aluminum smelter in the east, the “Alcoa” company committed NOT to touch a certain area, supposed to be “haunted” by elves… 🙂 Another true story: about 6 years ago, a member of parliament had a very serious car accident, but he was sound and safe. To him, his luck was only due to the presence of elves in a huge rock on the road, and to thank them, he decided to get the 30t-chunk moved out into his garden, with the family of elves in a cozy basket, providing both tasty grass and a few sheep! Guess what: he got lots of complaints via internet for he’d changed the lifestyle of the elves… 😀


About Mél@nie Mélanie Bedos-Toulouse @ Facebook

Posted on 21 August 2016, in melanie. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. L’architecture de ces églises est impressionnante, mais j’avoue avoir un faible pour le style plus simple et traditionnel de la petite église blanche avec un toit bleu ou rouge.

  2. Enjoyed that great insight into Iceland Melanie, definitely in my list of travel sites for the future, the different styles of Churches are great, so much diversity in architecture. I have always believed from reading childhood books, that the Danish people have a great belief in things that aren’t seen. Best wishes, Ian.

  3. Ces images d’édifices religieux sont excellentes. C’est curieux ces croyances au surnaturel dans un pays qui ne manque pas de technologies avancées! Bonne soirée, Mo

  4. I love all the stories about the hidden people! I also enjoyed immensely the museum of Icelandic sorcery & witchcraft. Full of strange beliefs! 🙂

  5. Fun to read that about Iceland Melanie. They certainly have very interesting architecture for their churches.

  6. Fun, Melanie. You captured the churches well. Like you, I am impressed with their unique look. As for the elves, whatever makes them happy… 🙂 –Curt

  7. perhaps that cold weather helps make hidden people come out from the nice
    woodwork… 🙂

  8. Interesting folklore… I’m not superstitious at all. I love all the different churches… great post!

  9. So fascinating about the elves and the strong belief in them. I understand that often there are little houses built for the elves. Did you see any of them? Really enjoyed seeing the variety of churches from the massive structures to the cute and quaint. Sending good wishes your way!

  10. My father was very drawn to Iceland and its people for reasons of its landscape and the, to his mind, genuinely progressive attitude of the people. He was not a man for frippery or fancy trappings nor over complication. As a result he always called me ***** Davidsdottir as an homage to a life he tried hard to adhere to in over complicated mixed up Britain, I am my father’s daughter. Your images are stunning and your explanation has the clarity of the Icelandic air! 😊

    • wow, “Davidsdottir”?… frankly speakin’, if I were 3 decades younger, I would move out to Iceland where everybody speaks English – it’s their 2nd language, beginning at the kindergarten… 🙂

      • My father was an extremely bright and lovable eccentric. My grandfather spoke 9 modern and several ancient languages fluently. For a small nation like Iceland English would be essential. Of course this makes the British infuriatingly lazy about bothering to learn other languages! 😉

        • the Brits are not too “lazy” to learn another language: they simply think they do NOT need another one, as English has been “mastering”(controlling!) the planet for several decades… 🙂

          • Time will tell on that… I am British and might substitute arrogant for lazy! when Mandarin and Cantonese become essential as they surely will, maybe not in my lifetime though it wouldn’t surprise I think we, Brits will be royally dismayed! 😉

            • no problem here for Mandarin Chinese: our son speaks it and writes it… 🙂

              • As does my brother! 😊

                • welcome to the club! oh, our son speaks and writes Japanese, too! 🙂

                  • If it’s a club – my brother has some Japanese but fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, Malay and conversational Austroasiatic. He lived in SE Asia for 13 years, now in Bahrain he is getting to grips with Arabic. I content myself with English, Italian and French and moments of wanting to return to studying Russian, though the biggest hurdle at the moment is colloquial American! 😂😂😂

                    • I’m really impressed by your brother’s language skills… in our international family, we speak between 3-4 languages which is quite “honorable”, I may say… 🙂

                    • Living and working in the countries concerned and being married to a Chinese girl raised in Thailand helped, I’m sure. He still can’t compose a grammatically correct English letter though! On another note, I watched a most interesting documentary here about Márta and Belá Károlyi the other day… I’m sure you know them – absolutely inspiring pair! 🙂

                    • our son’s gf is Taiwanese, they graduated from the same Taiwanese University… I did meet Márta and Belá Károlyi years ago, as they’re Romanian-born, like me… 🙂

                    • That was why I imagined you might know them… I remembered you are Romanian born – I’m rather like an elephant in terms of memory… not much slips me by though anno domini might erode that, of course!

                    • I’ve smiled at your comment, as people who have known me for awhile think I have “une mémoire d’éléphant(e)”(LOL!) and some of them call me “Mélanie-l’Encyclopédie”… 🙂

                    • I’m in good company then! 🙂

  11. Love your photos of the churches in Iceland. And your wonderful description of the local beliefs in the little people… I am sure the purity of their environment along with much of the untouched landscape contributes to awareness through the senses of connecting with the natural world – both seen and unseen.

    I so admired the variation in their architecture both modern and old. And I did enjoy learning more about the Icelandic people and their culture. I noted when watching the world cup in football how all of their surnames ended in ‘Son’. Can you shed any light on this Melanie? Does it mean a son of a son? Hence it’s included at the end of their surname…

    Lovely to catch a post from you this morning. Wishing you well on your beautiful travels. Love, Sue xxx

    • Hi Sue and takk-thanx for your generous comment! ❤ as for the word "son", most Icelanders don't have family names, but they simply use a "manufactured" patronym which is not transmitted to their children: the family name is actually composed of the father's first name, followed by "son"- for a boy and "dottir" for a girl… women keep their maiden names on all their official papers, even after their marriage, like in France, where my name is followed by:"spouse B"… last but not least: telephone directories are classified according to the first names!!! 🙂

      • Wow… Thank you Melanie! How interesting! I am so thankful that you explained that. And I didn’t even know that about maiden names in France with “Spouse B”, etc. So I have learnt two new things this morning – big smiles. 😀 I need to keep my old grey matter flowing, lol! 🙂 have a wonderful day, Melanie! Love and Hugs, my friend. xxx

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