Jolabokaflod: The Icelandic Tradition of Holiday Book Giving
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christmas-3000059_640I don't know about you, but lying under a cozy blanket with a good book and some hot chocolate sounds like the perfect holiday gift--and one that almost every person in Iceland is going to enjoy this Christmas Eve. Each November, The Iceland Publishers Association distributes the Bokatidindi--a catalog of every book published in Iceland--to each and every home. (Via the postal service, not flying reindeer and a sleigh.) This kicks off the holiday shopping season, and fuels the Jolabokaflod, or Yule Book Flood--an influx of orders that support the tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve and then spending the evening reading. 

The history of Jolabokaflod began during World War II, when imports were hard to come by, but paper wasn't. The Icelandic population didn't support year-round publishing, so at the end of the year they printed and released all the new books--just in time for the holidays. 

One in 10 Icelanders will publish a book and 93% of the population reads at least one book a year. Iceland is the third most literate country in the world, and Reykjavik is a UNESCO City of Literature. Did Jolabokaflod cause all this literacy? Perhaps not, but it certainly helps, and what better way to spend the evening? 

Source: Read it Forward

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