June 17th is National Day in Iceland – a day marking the country’s independence from Denmark in June of 1944. The 17th became the official day to celebrate as it falls on Jon Sigurdsson’s birthday; Iceland’s prominent leader in the Icelandic Independence Movement. This year marks Iceland’s 70th year as an independent nation!
Each year on June 17, Icelanders take to the streets of Reykjavik to celebrate with parades, dances, street theater and more from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. The festivities start off with the Icelandic government’s National Day ceremony at Austurvollur, followed by a parade, family entertainment at Arnaharholl, and much more! The Icelandic Circus even makes appearances all over town with engaging characters, workshops and circus shows.
Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without the infamous Fjallkonan, the woman of the mountain, who wears the national costume and recites a poem to the crowd. She represents the spirit and nature of Iceland and is a symbol of Iceland’s fight for independence. Following her are many other speeches, musical performances, and activities. After the formal celebrations are over, more informal parties are thrown in almost every town and village across the country.
Click here to learn more about Icelandic Independence Day from Visit Reykjavik and click here to see the Icelandic National Day page on Iceland.is!