Hvítserkur rocks, northwest Iceland
Iceland’s history, climate, and geography have shaped its rich folklore traditions. On a historically isolated island with dark winters and harsh living conditions, storytelling and other oral traditions thrived. The personification of Iceland’s natural features in its folklore reveals the character of its people and their attitudes toward the land and life itself. Tales of magic, monsters, and ghosts were also woven into Christian beliefs and customs and traditional aspects of Icelandic life such fishing, farming, and foodways.
Lecturer Christine Rai explores Icelandic folklore and its connection to history and the unique landscape of volcanoes, glaciers, lava deserts, geysers, and specific sites in Iceland. These folktales continue to flourish today, such as those centering on the four Landvaettir, guardian land spirits that are depicted on the Icelandic coat of arms and its kronur coins. Rai unfolds tales of the huldufolk, or hidden people, elves who exist in a parallel unseen world yet can wreak havoc or bestow blessings upon local humans—and even influence modern road construction.
Rai is an interdisciplinarian who specializes in food studies, culture, and folklore. She leads local and international trips and tours, talks, and tastings.
- If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
- Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
- Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from CustomerService@SmithsonianAssociates.org.
- Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
- View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.