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Reykjavik Travel Guide

Reykjavik Celebrates Icelandic National Day

Posted: Jun. 27th, 2013  |  By Michael Pearse
Iceland's National Day
Photo: Eyglo Svala Amarsdottir

The city of Reykjavik was overwhelmed with the celebrations of nearly five decades since the nation's former establishment and independence from Danish rule. In a glorious display of national pride and Icelandic culture, residents took to the street waving flags and carrying on in nationalistic fervor.

On June 17, 1944, the Republic of Iceland was formally established and Iceland became independent after being under Danish rule. The day has been celebrated as the Icelandic National Day ever since.

June 17 was chosen because it is the birthday of Jón Sigurdsson (1811-1879), the leader of Iceland’s independence movement.

Usually, the National Day is celebrated across the country with parades led by marching bands and scouts following as color guard. Prominent figures in society address the public in town and city squares.


Ceremonies often include an address or poetry reading by a woman dressed as fjallkonan (“The Mountain Woman”), wearing Iceland’s most festive national dress.


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