Iceland Mag

8 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag


Summer has officially arrived

By Staff

  • Golden Plover One of the many migratory birds who signal the arrival of summer in Iceland. 

On the first Thursday after April 18 Icelanders celebrate "the First Day of Summer", a unique Icelandic public holiday. This year the First Day of Summer, or Sumardagurinn fyrsti, in Icelandic, was on April 19. 

A 45 year old public holiday, an ancient tradition
The date has less to do with the weather we can expect in late April, and more to do with tradition: According to the Old Norse calendar this marked the beginning of the summer season. The Old Norse calendar divided the year into only two seasons, winter and summer. In this calendar it is the first day of the first of the six summer months, Harpa. Sumardagurinn fyrsti was also called Yngismeyjardagur, or The Day of Maidens. 

Read more: Spring has officially arrived: The cultural significance of the Golden Plover to Icelanders

According to an old belief we can expect a warm and sunny summer if summer and winter "freeze together" on the first day of summer: If there is frost on the morning of the first day of summer we will enjoy balmy weather during June, July and August. If we take this old superstition seriously we might be in for a rainy and cold summer: The temperature in Reykjavík yesterday morning at 6:00 was 8,2°C (x F). No major weather station recorded temperatures below freezing on the morning of the first day of summer.

But then again, the weather patterns are changing, so perhaps old weather myths don't apply any more.

“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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