Iceland’s Independence Day celebrations coming up on June 17th!
Lots of great events coming up this Saturday as the City of Reykjavík celebrates Independence Day. Known as Þjóðhátíðardagurinn in Icelandic, the day commemorates Iceland’s independence from Denmark in 1944 when the Republic of Iceland was formed. June 17th was chosen to host the special day since it’s the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson, a major figure of the 19th-century Icelandic independence movement.
The date is a national holiday in Iceland and is celebrated across the country with a number of traditional ceremonies followed by parties, parades and a whole programme of events and activities. In Reykjavík, the star of the day is the “Fjallkonan” or Lady of the Mountain, who recites a poem during the official ceremony in Austurvöllur Square. Fjallkonan, who is often performed by an Icelandic actress, is said to be the national personification of Iceland and every year she is formally decorated with special ‘Skautbúning’ regalia featuring a silver belt, and a beautiful headdress symbolising a crown of ice erupting fire.
This year Icelanders will be celebrating 73 years of independence and those in Reykjavik can enjoy a fabulous day of celebrations which starts from 10 a.m. when all the church bells in Reykjavik begin to chime! The festivities continue in the city centre and the park around the lake with a packed programme of music and family entertainment. There will also be street markets and a number of exhibitions. The main parade, led by the scouts, leaves from the Hlemmur bus station at 13:00, travelling down Laugavegur high street.
Visitors to Reykjavík can make the most of the day by checking out the full programme of events. Those with a special interest in the Icelandic national costume might like to head to the Árbær Open Air Museum at 14:00 where the Lady of the Mountain will be formally decorated with traditional ‘Skautbúning’ regalia.
Here are some photos from last year’s event by Roman Gerasymenko