Iceland Mag

10 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Culture

The "First Day of Summer" is celebrated around Iceland today

By Staff

  • A sign of warmer days Children from kindergartens Heiðarborg and Rauðhólar visiting the new inhabitants of the Reykjavík Petting Zoo ast spring. Photo/the Reykjavík Petting Zoo

Today "the First Day of Summer" is celebrated around Iceland (Icelandic: Sumardagurinn fyrsti). This is a unique Icelandic public holiday taking place annually on the first Thursday after April 18th, even though the climate in Iceland in April is usually nothing like summer.

Snow showers, strong gales and temperature below 0 Celsius (32 F) are to be expected, just as we have witnessed over the last few days. This is spring in Iceland.

The tradition of the First Day of Summer is based on the Old Norse calendar that divided the year into only two seasons, winter and summer. Late April was/is thought to be a fairly safe time to celebrate the end of a long, cold winter.

“Gleðilegt sumar!” (Happy summer) is the greeting to use today and the next few days, even though it might by snowing.

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