Icelanders remember that on 17th of June in 1944 their country triumphantly stood independent from Denmark’s rule.
The celebrations in Iceland spawn crowds of patriotic Icelandic people who gather to enjoy the entertainment on offer so they can fully appreciate their annual national holiday. A range of spectacular events include watching the parades in the streets, as well as pop-up theatre performances and sideshows the capture the crowd’s imagination. Parties and concerts are also organised with bands and live music to properly spotlight the sentiment of the day: the Icelandic community and culture.
The Scandinavia Standard sheds a light on the way Iceland chooses to remember their heritage: “Most cities have their own, with riders on Icelandic horses, flag-bearers and brass bands leading the way. Speeches are then given, most notably by the traditionally-dressed Fjallkonan (Woman of the Mountain), who reads a poem. After speeches, the party continues for the rest of the day. The reading of poetry by a woman dressed in the national costume symbolizes the spirit of Iceland and is a lovely, whimsical way to honour this important moment in Iceland’s history. Iceland is a country that, for many, is shrouded in mystery and even the mystical. Their National Day is an expression of their unique identity. It offers a beautiful combination of historical fact and emotional response.”
The long awaited chance to amend the 1918 Act of Union with Denmark in 1943 meant that Iceland had to postpone contesting the agreement until after the Second World War, due to Germany’s occupation of Denmark. The actual day – 17th of June – was chosen to not only revel in the historical victory of establishing the Republic of Iceland after WWII, but to fall upon the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson; to truly canonise a revered figure in spearheading Icelandic culture movement, before his death in 1879.
In the news, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi notably gave praise to the National Iceland Day celebrations via Twitter:
“My greetings and best wishes to the people of Iceland on the occasion of Iceland’s National Day”.
Even if you are a fan of critically acclaimed Danish Nordic Noir and drama – join in on the cultural festive atmosphere and take a glimpse of an Iceland brimming with Nordic pride!