Bolludagur — Cream Puff Day
“Bolludagur” is the first in the row of three peculiar holidays that together constitute “Icelandic Carnival.” The name roughly translates to “Cream Puff Day” in English. It falls on Monday six weeks before Easter so the actual date changes every year. Bakers from Denmark or Norway introduced the custom to Icelanders in the middle of the nineteenth century. It’s those people we have to thank for bringing us the delicious Bolludagsbolla.
Bolla is a word used in Iceland for all sorts of round breads, sweet or savoury. The Bolludagsbolla, however is something special. It’s a glorious choux pastry bun traditionally filled with jam and whipped cream and topped with a chocolate glaze, although in later years bakers have been experimenting with all sorts of fillings. It can be made at home or bought from a bakery and its only flaw is … that it’s only served on Bolludagur.
Eating the Bollur (the plural form) is great, but that’s not the only thing this day is about. See, the tradition dictates you can’t buy your own Bolla, you have to get someone to buy it for you. If you manage to spank someone before they get up in the morning, they owe you a Bolla. Children all over Iceland arm themselves with a “Bolludagsvöndur” (a paper paddle specially made for the occasion) on the Sunday before Bolludagur. When they wake up the following day, they creep into their parents’ room and spank them repeatedly while yelling “Bolla!” over and over again. Doesn’t that just sound like a great way to start your Monday morning?