Örviri: The Icelandic Folklore of the Hidden People


Have you heard of örviri? No, it’s not a strange new cuisine or the latest internet challenge. Örviri refers to the Hidden People, mythical creatures in Icelandic folklore. Get ready for a fascinating journey into a magical world of dwarves, elves, and other fantastical beings that have captured the imagination of Icelanders for centuries.

According to Icelandic legend, an entire race of Hidden People inhabit a parallel world that coexists with our own. Though invisible to most, some claim to have caught glimpses of their grassy homes or spotted them going about their daily lives. Tales of the Hidden People and their interactions with humans have been passed down through generations, keeping their memories alive in Icelandic culture.

Whether or not you believe in the Hidden People, their stories provide a glimpse into Iceland’s rich folklore heritage. So come along as we explore the captivating tales of örviri, and you may just start to wonder if there’s an enchanted world hidden in plain sight. The Hidden People await! Let the adventure begin.

An Introduction to Örviri: Iceland’s Mysterious Hidden Folk

The Örviri, or “hidden people,” are a fascinating part of Icelandic folklore. These mysterious creatures are believed to inhabit the rugged landscape of Iceland. According to legends, the Örviri live in hidden places – under rocks, inside hills, or underneath farms.

Though rarely seen, the Örviri are said to be short in stature but strong, usually wearing colorful clothes and living in small communities. They are thought to be rather mischievous, playing tricks on humans or stealing items when annoyed. However, they can also be helpful, assisting farmers with chores or protecting livestock. Some even believe that the Örviri are the guardian spirits of the land.

Encounters with the Örviri were more commonly reported in past centuries, with many farms claiming to have been inhabited by them at some point. Legends tell of people stumbling upon their dwellings or spotting the Örviri going about their daily lives. A few lucky souls were even said to receive gifts from these secretive creatures!

Whether real or imagined, the Örviri has captured the imagination of Icelanders for generations. They represent a connection to the hidden mysteries of Iceland’s natural world and a belief in the magical beings that inhabit it. So the next time you’re traveling the Icelandic countryside, keep an eye out – you never know when these hidden folk might appear!

The Origins and History of the Huldufólk Legends

The legends of the huldufólk, or “hidden people”, have been passed down for centuries in Iceland. These mysterious creatures are said to inhabit rocks, hills, and gardens across the countryside.

Early Origins

The earliest mentions of huldufólk date back to the 13th century. These creatures were thought to be supernatural beings that lived alongside humans but remained mostly invisible. The huldufólk were believed to live in underground homes or in small rocks and hills.

As time went on, more and more Icelanders reported seeing or interacting with huldufólk. Their descriptions were of short creatures that wore colorful clothes and were rarely seen by the human eye. The huldufólk were thought to be quite mischievous and would play tricks on farmers and tradesmen. However, they could also be helpful to those who showed them respect.

Protecting the Land

The huldufólk were believed to inhabit and protect the Icelandic landscape. Many locations in Iceland are named after these mythical creatures, like Álfhóll (Elf Hill) or Huldufell (Hidden People Mountain). Construction and development projects have even been relocated to avoid disturbing suspected huldufólk habitats.

Whether real or imagined, the huldufólk has shaped Iceland’s cultural heritage. They represent a spiritual connection to nature and a belief in forces beyond human understanding. For centuries, these “hidden people” have sparked wonder, creativity, and a sense of shared mythology among Icelanders. Their timeless legends will continue to captivate new generations.

Modern Beliefs and Traditions Surrounding the Huldufólk

Modern Icelanders still believe in the hidden people, with many claiming to have seen or interacted with them. Some even build small houses for the huldufólk on their properties!

Offerings and Construction

Leaving out food, drink, and other gifts is common practice to appease the huldufólk. Many Icelanders construct small shelters, stairs, and doorways for them when building homes or other structures.

  • Building sites are examined for large rocks that could potentially be huldufólk homes before construction begins. Workers take care to not disturb them.
  • Small gardens, play areas, and seating are created for the enjoyment of these “unseen neighbors”. Some homeowners even leave out small gifts of food, candy, or toys for huldufólk children.
  • Certain days of the year, like Midsummer’s Eve, see more active gifting and acknowledgement of the huldufólk as a way to honor them and request their blessing.

Leaving out treats for these mystical creatures is done in a spirit of friendship and respect. While not all Icelanders profess a strong belief in the huldufólk, most see the tradition of honoring them as an important cultural custom that links Icelanders to their rich folklore heritage.


The huldufólk has become an attraction for visitors as well. Tour companies offer huldufólk-themed excursions to areas where sightings are common. Souvenirs like huldufólk figurines are popular mementos. Some tourists even partake in the tradition of leaving gifts in hopes of glimpsing the hidden people or gaining their favor. The huldufólk remains an integral part of Icelandic culture, folklore, and identity.

The Symbolism of Örviris Unlocking the Hidden Meanings

Hidden within the folklore of örviri are many symbolic meanings waiting to be unlocked.

The “Hidden People”

The örviri represents what is concealed from plain sight.They inhabit a world parallel to our own that remains obscured. Belief in the örviri signifies an openness to life’s mysteries and a willingness to accept that which cannot be readily explained.

Do you sense there are deeper truths in this world that remain veiled? The legends of the örviri suggest you may be right. They represent the hidden dimensions and concealed workings underlying surface reality. They point to the possibility that things are not always as they seem.

The örviri also symbolize nature itself and humanity’s connection with the natural world. They are wild and free, inhabiting mountains, forests and stones. Belief in the örviri signifies a reverence for the earth and all the secret wonders it contains.

Like the “little people” in many folklores, the örviri represent a belief in unseen magical forces and the possibility of alternative realities coexisting with our own. They speak to an open and enchanted way of perceiving the world that allows for mystery and surprises at every turn.

The örviri remain hidden in plain sight, much like the deeper meanings within their legends. But for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the messages of these “hidden people” can be revealed.


So there you have it, the enthralling tales of Iceland’s hidden folk, the örviri. For millennia, their naughty exploits and magical abilities have fueled imagination. The örviri, however, veiled from mortal eyes, live on in Icelandic society through colorful stories passed down through centuries. If you happen to be trekking a trail in Iceland’s highlands, you could get a glimpse of an örviri peeping out from behind a rock or hear their laughing ringing through the volcanic landscape. Keep your ears and eyes open; you never know when these supernatural creatures will decide to unveil themselves to those who believe in the wonder and mystery of Icelandic tradition, even if only for a short period. A thrilling adventure awaits!

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