When is the First Day of Summer in Iceland?
How long until First Day of Summer?
|This holiday next takes place in 65 Days.|
Dates of First Day of Summer
|Known in Icelandic as 'Sumardagurinn fyrsti', this holiday is an Icelandic flag day and marks the arrival of the first day of summer|
This holiday is celebrated on first Thursday after 18 April. This means it always falls between 19 April and 25 April.
Known in Icelandic as 'Sumardagurinn fyrsti', this holiday is an Icelandic flag day and marks the arrival of the first day of summer.
Traditions of the First Day of Summer in Iceland
Given the climate in Iceland, it might seem strange that summer comes so early to Iceland. However in Iceland the old Norse calendar was in use by the first settlers to Iceland in the 9th century and it divided the year into only two seasons, vetur (winter) and (sumar) summer.
The first day of summer was traditionally celebrated on the first day of Harpa, the first of the six summer months. It may also be called 'Girl Day' or 'Maiden Day' as the month of Harpa was associated with Girls.
If it doesn't feel like summer in Iceland in mid-April, don't worry too much - a local tradition is that if the temperature on the night before the First Day of Summer falls below zero degrees centigrade, then it will be a long and warm summer.
While it is unclear whether the Norse considered the first day of Summer or the first day of Winter to be the start of the year, it is likely that the date in April was the start of the year. This would link with similar traditions of April being the start of the year in other parts of Europe.
The first day of Harpa corresponded to 14 April in the modern calendar. The current date for the First Day of Summer was determined by the church as it is technically deemed to be the second Thursday after the Saint’s day of Pope Leo I (11 April).
Once a more important holiday then Christmas, this holiday has faded in terms of significance with the adoption of the major Christian festivals. Despite its lower status Icelanders will mark the day as heralding a welcome change in the weather with parades, sporting events and entertainment across the island.
This day has been a national holiday in Iceland since 1971.
Celebrating the First Day of Summer
The video below is from Iceland Close-Up and shows the celebrations that take place to mark the first day of summer.