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Elves ( Huldufólk )

Elves ( Huldufólk )

Huldufólk ( Icelandic hidden people ) are elves in Icelandic folklore.   Building projects in Iceland are sometimes altered to prevent damaging the rocks where the elves are believed to live.  According to these icelandic folk beliefs, never throw stones because of the possibility of hitting the elves ( huldufólk ).  Icelanders are few in number, so in the old times we doubled our population with tales of elves and fairies.  There are four Icelandic holidays considered to have a special connection with elves, Midsummer Night, Christmas Night, New Year’s Eve and the Twelfth Night ( January 6 ).  Elves bonfires are a common part of the Twelfth Night.  On New Year’s Eve it is belived that elves move to new locations, Icelanders leave candles to help them find their way.  Álfhóll ( Elf Hill ) is the most famous home of elves in Kópavogur (Reykjavík).  In The late 1930s road construction began on Álfhólsvegur (Elf Hill Road) named after Álfhóll,  which was supposed to go through Álfhóll, which meant that they have to destroy Álfhóll.  Nothing seemed to go well, and construction was stopped due to money problems. A decade later they continued with the road construction, but when work resumed machines started breaking and tools got damaged and lost.  The road remained routed around the hill.  In the late 1980s the road was to be paved and raised.  Construction went well until it came time to destroy part of Álfhóll.  A rock drill was used but it broke, another drill was fetched but that one broke as well.  After both drills broke the workers refused to go near the hill with any tools.  Álfhóll is now protected by the city as a cultural heritage.   But it is clear that beliefes about elves are changing from those current in the nineteenth century, but folklore about elves is a meaningful part of contemporary culture.

Álfhóll                                                        Álfhóll in Kópavogur.  The road narrows because elves are believed to live there.

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