The Magical Love Story of Iceland and Eurovision

Daði og Gagnamagnið in Eurovision 2021.
Daði og Gagnamagnið performing Iceland´s song "10 Years" in Eurovision 2021.

It's finally Eurovision time and we cannot wait to celebrate it in Iceland!  Now you may never have heard about it but let me tell you, the Eurovision Song Contest is a big deal in Iceland!

It is almost unreal how much we care about Eurovision in Iceland. For decades Eurovision has been among the most popular TV events of the year and is widely celebrated throughout the country.

It is one of those things that just brings the whole nation together. On the night of the finals, it is tradition for family and friends to watch the live show together. But this is not just sitting on the couch watching TV. Oh no, the love for Eurovision in Iceland goes way further than that!

What is Eurovision?

In case you´re not familiar with Eurovision, let's go a little bit over the concept of this fantastic competition and explain what it is all about.

To put it simply, Eurovision is a song contest between the countries of Europe. Each country gets to send an artist to the competition and only original songs, specially made for Eurovision are allowed to enter.

It is a 4-hour live event, split into two stages. The songs and the results. The songs are all performed live on stage and the results are also announced in a live broadcast.

The winner of Eurovision is chosen by a rather complex system of public votes and points awarded by each country's judging committee. The song with the most points is the winner and that country will host the next Eurovision song contest the year after.

Eurovision in Liverpool UK
Eurovision 2023 is in Liverpool, the UK.

Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest

Iceland has competed in Eurovision since 1986, and ever since the nation has been absolutely hooked on it.

Our first Eurovision song is called Gleðibankinn (e. the Happy Bank). Back then songs had to be performed in their native languages, so it was Icelandic sounding on an international stage.

Nevertheless, hopes were high, and the people of Iceland were extremely optimistic. In fact we were so confident that we would win the contest, we started to worry about where to host Eurovision the year after. Unfortunately, the rest of Europe did not agree, and the Happy bank ended in place 16.

Despite this minor setback in Iceland´s first try in Eurovision this positive attitude towards the contest is still very much alive. We strongly believe we´re going to win Eurovision every single year. To this day Iceland has yet to win the Eurovision song contest but we are confident that this is our year!

For the 2023 Eurovision is sending a talented young artist by the name Diljá with her song Power.

How is Eurovision celebrated in Iceland?

For Icelanders, Eurovision is much more than just a song contest between nations in Europe. The Saturday Eurovision finals is like Superbowl Sunday in Iceland.

It is tradition for friends and family of all ages to come together for a special Eurovision party. Not just to watch the show as Eurovision is more of a spring festival in Iceland. Celebrated with good food, drinks, and games throughout the entire evening.

A typical Eurovision party in Iceland is a home party where the food is cooked outside on the grill. Houses are often decorated in a Eurovision party theme and the Icelandic flag is everywhere. There will also be snacks and dip. The dipping sauce is very important, as it must be a traditional “Voga Ídýfa,” or it is not a real Icelandic Eurovision party.

Drinking is also a huge part of celebrating Eurovision. During this evening Icelanders consume a vast amount of alcohol. It is even popular to turn Eurovision into a drinking game where party members select a song and for each point that song gets a shot of drink must be taken.

Eurovision Party in Iceland.
Traditional Icelandic Eurovision Party.

Why is Eurovision So Popular in Iceland?

It's really hard to pinpoint exactly why Eurovision is such a big deal in Iceland. It could be the glamor show put on for the contest and multiple styles of music performed. Or it could be the competition between nations and the thrill of the votes.Who knows?

Whatever it is, it is all for good fun and we just love it!

If you think Iceland´s love for Eurovision is interesting you might want to read more about Icelandic culture in our blogs. We also have a great selection of practical information about traveling in Iceland.

While on the subject. To travel in Iceland, you need a rental car to see all that our beautiful country has to offer. So, don´t forget to book a car with Blue Car Rental before your Iceland trip.

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