Guðni Kristinsson grew up in the Icelandic countryside where Christmas and New Years Eve were celebrated in the traditional way with smoked leg of lamb, leafbread, going to church, reading, and in general just inhaling the peace and quiet of the country. That’s not his style anymore. Now he spends New Years Eve with a bunch of foreigners eager to experience the legendary “áramótastemning“ or New Years Eve wibe in Reykjavík.
“I‘m working for Pink Iceland and for the last four years I have been in charge of leading our foreign guests into the typical New Years Eve spirit of Reykjavík,“ says Guðni.
“We start with going to see one of the bonfires that are in various places of the city, then we go for dinner and after that it‘s time to shoot some fireworks into the sky.
As is customary in Iceland everyone goes to a party in somebody‘s apartment to toast the new year, kiss and communicate before we all head to the queer dance club Kiki to dance til the wee hours of the first morning of the year.“
The New Years package that Pink Iceland offers lasts for four days, with a walk around Reykjavík, a trip to the Golden Circle, and a hangovercure in the Blue Lagoon included apart from the New Years Eve festivities. Guðni works from morning to night for those four days, but he is adamant that he is not tired of it. “Not at all!“ he states. “My boyfriend comes with me to all these activities and it‘s just become our way to celebrate the new year. It‘s great fun and it‘s wonderful to experience how much our guests are enjoying themselves. It makes it all worth it.“
“Reykjavík is especially nice this time of year and I‘m very happy to spend it here with all these lovely guests. One can always go to London or New York but New Years Eve in Reykjavík is a unique experience.“
Asked if the guests are asked for some kind of a proof that they are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community before they are allowed to take part in the fun Guðni laughs. “No, hardly. You don‘t have to be a LGBTQIA+ person to come on the trips. Most of our guests are a part of that community though, as we cater to them especially in Pink Iceland, but we would never deny anyone service if they aren’t. Of course we would not be happy with having some haters of the LGBTQIA+ community on these tours, but they are hardly likely to apply, are they?“
Guðni says he never misses the New Years Eve festivities of his youth in the countryside. “Oh God, no!“ he exclaims. “I‘ve become a city boy through and through and if I were to spend New Years Eve anywhere else than in Reykjavík I would choose London or New York. But Reykjavík is especially nice this time of year and I‘m very happy to spend it here with all these lovely guests. One can always go to London or New York but New Years Eve in Reykjavík is a unique experience.“
Main photo: Roman Gerasymenko