St. Thorlak's Day

St. Thorlak's Day

December 23
Thorlak Thorhalli (1133-1193) was born in Iceland and, after being educated abroad, returned there to become bishop of Skalholt in 1177 or 1178. He was canonized by the Icelandic parliament five years after his death, even though the Roman Catholic Church has never officially confirmed the cult. His day traditionally marks the climax of Christmas preparations for Icelanders. It is associated with housecleaning and clothes washing, as well as the preparation of special foods. The hangiket, or smoked mutton, for Christmas was usually cooked on this day, and in the western fjords, the ammonia-like smell of skate hash cooked on St. Thorlak's Day is still considered a harbinger of the holiday season.
SOURCES:
EncyChristmas-2003, p. 350
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 713
OxYear-1999, p. 509