Celebrate the First Day Of Summer!

Magazine Celebrate the First Day Of Summer!

How do you know when it’s summer in Iceland? With very little change in temperatures between seasons, the way to know the answer to this question is sumardagurinn fyrsti – the First Day of Summer. This is an annual public holiday in Iceland and it’s celebrated always on the first Thursday after April 18. It derives from the old Norse calendar, where it was called it the first day of Harpa. It is known from the earliest Icelandic records and was celebrated already in the times when people counted their age, not by calendar years as today, but in winters. The First Day of Summer has been a bank holiday since 1921 and is one of Iceland’s 11 official flag days.

Descriptions of Icelandic weather during that time of year state, the weather ”isn’t summerlike”, and many articles about the subject refer to summer in quotation marks, but that doesn’t stop the Icelanders from welcoming more light – and possibly even more warmth, if they’re lucky! The day includes parades, picnics, barbeques and outdoorsy activities in the park, featuring random temperatures and weather conditions (meaning they will most likely not feel like summer).

Celebrating the First Day of Summer requires a true Viking spirit, to be able to party hard in the crispy spring winds. There is also a prediction related to the weather conditions on the First Day of Summer: if it’s freezing the night before, the summer will be beautiful. So maybe in the end it is worth freezing your buttocks off on one day in April – for a full summer of warmer days.

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