Excerpt from Tadhg’s Journal: I love words, and if you’re anything like me, you might be interested in a new one (to me) that I came across yesterday.
The word is: Jolabokaflod. It’s Icelandic.
Okay, so it may be too late to really honour it this year, but the people of that small, but great nation of Iceland have the right idea, especially from my viewpoint as a book-lover.
‘I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.’ Jorge Luis Borges
They have something they call Jolabokaflod, and it means (Yule or) Christmas book flood!
In the few months before Christmas, most books are sold in Iceland because of the upcoming event. Books are lovingly selected with family and friends in mind, bought months or weeks in advance (and the commercial side of things will hold events, fairs etc), and the books are then wrapped and stored, ready for Jolabokaflod.
And then on Christmas Eve it happens. Whatever you may have (additionally) bought for family and friends, Jolabokaflod happens, and you give a book to a loved family member or friend. Yes, it’s all about books. It sound wonderful. I know it’s not really rocket-science, and many people already do give books for Christmas gifts to be opened on that day, but the idea of a special day for it, is quite wonderful. Ofcourse, Jolabokflod could be used for us to reward those who served us throughout the year eg corner-shop owners, those who sweep our roads, postal delivery people etc. People we might not want to ‘officially’ buy a Christmas present for, but, nevertheless, want to say ‘thank you’, to.
‘Books are a uniquely portable magic.’ Stephen King
The idea then, is to open the wrapper of the book gift you’ve been given on Christmas Eve, discover the book you’ve been bought, and that evening curl up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate and that good, or retire early to bed and yes, take that new book and maybe a box of chocolate with you, and indulge.
‘You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world.’ Dr Who
What a way to celebrate that liminal time – the time when all the Christmas preparations have been made (or of they haven’t, it’s probably too late now, so don’t worry) and Christmas Day isn’t quite here – and now you can relax in some well-deserved ‘me’ time.
‘Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.’ Mark Twain
Ofcourse, it’s really all about giving books away, and if there’s not enough time this year to do that, I’m sure we’ll be excused just this once, if we buy one special book for ourselves, just to try out a sort of dry-run for next year’s Jolabokaflod. And, if you did that, what book would you treat yourself to?