Iceland isn't exactly the most vivacious country in the world, is it? It's undeniably beautiful with a rich heritage and a great history to it, as well as a peaceful nation at that. But is it the liveliest of them all? Definitely not! And it doesn't have to be. The beauty of Iceland is that it's very much an escape from the more tumultuous nations of the world. But make no mistake, this country knows how to celebrate. And they do so on many occasions, primarily during their national holidays. Here's a handful you might like to know about.
First Day of Summer (Moveable Holiday)
Apart from the popular holidays (New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, etc.) and the religious holy days (Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, etc), one of the first Icelandic holidays of the year is the First Day of Summer. It's a moveable holiday, meaning it doesn't have a definite date, but seeing as it is in summer, you can expect it to normally be in April or May. Just how important is the First Day of Summer in Iceland? Well, it's a flag holiday in the country, meaning the nation's flag proudly waves in the air during this day. And they don't do that on just any holiday!
May Day (May 1)
May Day is also a holiday. Though it's called 'May Day,' it's actually just Labor Day, the same day that Italy
, the Netherlands, and more observe too. A special day off for the workers of the country, it's one of the most anticipated days of the year. It's especially celebrated if it falls on a Monday, allowing for a long weekend. Many people take this opportunity to spend time with family, perhaps even go out of town, and simply have a good time. That's what this holiday is all about: people taking a break from work.
Icelandic National Day (June 7)
Every June 17, on the other hand, Iceland celebrates its own National Day. Also known as the 'Icelandic National Day,' it commemorates the foundation of Iceland as an independent republic in 1944. And while celebrations here aren't as grand as the likes of Bastille Day in France
or the 4th of July in the US
, Icelanders still show off their patriotism in a big way during this holiday. They hold military parades, don national attire, perform traditional dances, serve authentic Icelandic cuisine, and, of course, proudly wave the Icelandic flag for all the world to see!
Commerce Day (First Monday of August)
Now here's another holiday that most people look forward to: Commerce Day. Also referred to as 'Frídagur verslunarmanna
,' it's a special holiday for workers, most especially merchants and retailers. It's a chance for them to take a break, put up their feet, and relax. After all, a huge part of Iceland's economy is the retail industry. It seems fair that they're given a holiday so they can rest and recharge and take on the work when they come back. Though perhaps the biggest reason many people look forward to it is that it's held every first Monday of August, allowing for a long weekend to start the month right!
Boxing Day (December 26)
Finally, among the more unique Icelandic holidays of the year, there's Boxing Day. It's not exactly unique as the UK, Ireland, and more famously celebrate it, but not a lot of other countries observe it too. Held every December 26, it comes right after Christmas Day, making it a supplementary holiday to what's practically the most famous holiday in the world. And here in Iceland, they hold it to similarly high regard. People still hear mass and attend special prayer services on this day, while others enjoy the free day by spending time with loved ones, going out, and simply having a good time.
Holidays in Iceland are some of the best, and this doesn't pertain to going on a vacation. The many holidays in this country allow for the people to have a day for themselves, to spend time with family, to take a break, and most importantly, to remember that the country is all about!
There are many luxurious Icelandic homes
for the taking in the country. You'd do well in renting one while you're here for the holidays!