It’s easy to pronounce with a mouth full of beer.
The tiny island of Heimaey in Iceland’s 18-island Westman Island chain erupts on the first weekend in August as thousands come to drink, sing, and burn stuff.
The yearly festival started in 1874 when weather kept the islanders from going ashore to celebrate Iceland’s independence from Denmark. It has grown steadily to become the best all-night party in Iceland, which is one hell of an accomplishment.
The Westman Islands themselves are no strangers to sleepless nights. Some of the first residents were Irish slaves who had killed their Icelandic owner and went over seeking refuge. Unfortunately for them, the murdered man’s brother had a boat and avenged the death, down to the last man.
The island got a break until 1973, when a volcano erupted and sent all 5000 residents swimming for the mainland. The lava flowed for five months and left nearly 400 homes in ruin. The ground is literally still steaming from the blast.
No need to worry, however. It would seem that Heimaey’s temperament has simmered from a hotbed of murder and enslavement to the scene of the hottest party on earth. Bring a tent, a lighter, and someone with whom you’d like to be very, very good friends… it’s going to be a long weekend.