Happiness of the Peoples of the World: Iceland

02/11/2021 12:33

In reference with the launch of the joint project of the Council for Eurasian Tourism Security and the Department of Happiness of the Eurasian Peoples' Assembly "Happiness of the Peoples of the World", Chairperson of the Council for Eurasian Tourism Security Anastasia Pavlova talks about countries where the happiness of their citizens is a priority area of ​​state activity.

Iceland - the land of happy books

The country's motto: "Everything will work out."

Only a happy person feels safe.

When you say the name of this country, you get the image of fabulous winter landscapes, hot springs and contented, happy, calm people. So what is the main secret of Icelandic happiness? I will try to answer this question in my article.

Happiness in Iceland, in my opinion, is built from several components.

1. Optimistic attitude

Have you ever wondered how a positive and encouraging word can affect a country's happiness index. Of course it can. The energy of massive repetition of the same positively charged phrase is a powerful energy that creates reality. Every country in the world has its own encouraging motto of happiness. In Russia, such a motto is a common phrase: "Everything will be fine." In Iceland, it is  “Þetta reddast” (“tehta reddast”), which means “everything will work out”. This phrase in Iceland has been applied to absolutely all situations for many years. What is surprising and logical at the same time, the power of this phrase really made Iceland one of the happiest countries in the world. The happiness coefficient in Icelandic is 7.5.

87% of citizens have a decent job with a high income and an attractive social package.

Based on these indicators, a feeling of mutual gratitude prevails in Iceland, and there is no irritation in society. There is a tradition of constant gratitude here, especially for the time spent. Icelanders constantly thank each other for the time spent together. In the phrase “takk fyrir síðast”, which means “thank you for the last time,” there is a huge meaning of the happiness of gratitude for communication.

2. Books

Few people know that Iceland is one of the most reading countries in our time. Iceland can be called the land of happy books. Reading is the main component of national happiness for Iceland.

Icelanders are very fond of reading paper books. The counry publishes the largest number of books per capita in the world, with five different books per 1,000 Icelanders. In 2009, the Reykjavik City Library issued 1.2 million books for use, while the population of Reykjavik was then only 200 thousand people. The book demand statistics for 2021 has almost doubled. If you ask any Icelander on the street where he feels particularly happy, most of the answers will be "in the library and bookstore."

Iceland has an amazing national tradition of Jolabokaflod, or "Christmas Book Flood". From the end of September to the beginning of November, a real book boom begins in the country. It was during this period that the largest number of books is sold in Iceland. Books are purchased primarily for Christmas Eve. It is on Christmas that the usual motto “A book is the best gift” is realized in Iceland. Books are presented on the night of December 24th. And on Christmas night in Iceland, people spend reading.

This tradition began during the Second World War, when the amount of gift items imported into Iceland sharply decreased due to currency restrictions. It happened so that books have become wonderful Christmas gifts.

3. Ice cream and beer

Ice cream and beer in Iceland are associated with savoring a happy moment. In Iceland, dozens of ice creams are prepared and sold: rich in flavor, color and unique ingredients.

Despite the cold, Icelanders are very fond of ice cream and can eat it regardless of the temperature. The love of ice cream has given rise to the special Icelandic word ísbíltúr, which essentially means "to drive and eat ice cream." The first part of the word is taken from ísbúð, which means "ice cream shop", and the second part is bíltúr, which means "jump in the car" and "ride". Thus, together they mean a trip by car, where the journey is more important than the destination, but at some point you need to catch a happy moment and enjoy an ice cream.

Beer is one of the most popular mood-boosting drinks in Iceland. It is as common to invite to a beer in Iceland as it is to invite to a coffee in other countries. Beer was banned in Iceland for a long time, until the end of the 80s of the XX century. On March 1, Iceland celebrates the Beer Festival, in memory of the lifting of the ban on beer on March 1, 1989. Now this day is celebrated as the Day of Beer, or Bjordagur in Icelandic. Icelanders say that beer has a beneficial effect on the human body and has a therapeutic effect, which is directly related to a happy mood.

4. Ecology and absence of mosquitoes

Iceland is one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world. The whole country lives thanks to active volcanoes. The Icelanders have forced their country's volcanic activity to generate geothermal and hydropower to provide 80% of their state's total energy consumption. Icelanders say that volcanoes help warm them, and the state cares about their happiness.

There are about 1,300 insect species in Iceland, among which there are no mosquitoes at all. Temperatures in Iceland are subject to sudden changes, what negatively affect the mosquito's life cycle. Therefore, Iceland can be called a country free from mosquito bites.

5. The cult of the name - the absence of a surname

In Iceland, the government is involved in naming the baby. A person's name means more to an Icelander than a name. The name contains the whole history of the family and clan, and even the role of the state. The name is like a mini-genetic passport of an Icelander, since there is no surname in the country in the traditional sense. Icelander to Icelander is a potential friend. Most often they use only first names, even in the phone book of subscribers they write down without surnames. That is why names in Iceland have a special attitude. There is a list of legal lucky names that are approved by the government. If the Icelander wants to give the child a name not on the list, you will need to get the approval of a special government committee.

6. Elves

In Iceland, it is customary to believe in a fairy tale. About 80% of Icelanders believe in the existence of elves and trolls. Elven legends are treated as objective reality. 12 elves bring happiness to the house, according to Iceland. Therefore, the existence of elves is treated with great respect; they are fed, placated, shared with secrets and, of course, asked.

The main request of every Icelander is that everything always works out. This is the happiness of a cold country of geysers and frozen waterfalls, a country that has created its own comfortable happy world.

The world of elves, where the state is helped by volcanoes, where mosquitoes do not bite, where it is customary to thank for the time spent, where on Christmas day they dream of a new book, and in the cold they eat ice cream and bear happy names.

© Pavlova A.V., 2018. PoETHIC World Map


Among the azure geysers

The light is hot - the pulse of the country.

Purple Spire of Rekyavik

At the end of silence.

Waterfalls and volcanoes.

Ice land's law.

Blue water lagoon

Among the basalt columns.

By golden glaciers

Diadem is folded.

It keeps Iceland’s secrets

And cold wine...