When: the first Thursday after April 18th, so the specific date differs based on the lunar calendar and the year.

Unlike most places in the world where summer starts in June, in Iceland this season starts in April. The First Day of Summer, also known as "Sumardagurinn fyrsti" in Icelandic, is a day that symbolizes the end of darkness and the arrival of bright, long days full of light.

Icelanders have been celebrating the first day of summer since 1921, and it is one of 11 official holidays in Iceland, which are usually non-working days. This holiday is an opportunity to celebrate together, integrate the community and enjoy the upcoming summer season.


Why: The history of this holiday dates back to 1921, when Icelanders began celebrating this occasion. But why in April? Well, the answer lies in the traditional Icelandic calendar and the climatic conditions of the island.

According to the old Icelandic calendar, which operated from the time of the island's settlement in the 9th century until the 19th century, there were only two seasons: winter and summer. Therefore, summer began at the end of April and lasted until October. The First Day of Summer was also formerly considered the first day of the year. It was a symbolic change - a transition from darkness and cold to light and warmth.

The Vikings gave names to the winter and summer months. The winter months are Gormánuðr, Ýlir, Mörsugr, Þorri, Góa, and Einmánuðr, while the summer months are Harpa, Skerpla, Sólmánuðr, Heyannir, Tvímánuðr, and Haustmánuðr. This traditionally records the name of the first summer month as Harpa, which falls on the first day of summer in Iceland.


How it is celebrated: One of the elements of celebrating this day is observing the temperature on the night before the holiday. There is a belief that if the temperature drops below zero degrees Celsius, the summer will be long and warm. Traditionally, bowls of water were placed outside to see if they would freeze. If the water is frozen in the morning, it means a promising forecast for a long and warm season.

What is the weather like in Iceland that day? You can see this video :)

The First Day of Summer is not only a symbolic transition between the seasons, but also an opportunity to celebrate together. There are numerous parades throughout Iceland. It is also a time of organized outdoor entertainment, where people gather to enjoy the first rays of sunlight after a long winter.


Traditionally, the first day of summer was an opportunity to exchange gifts, just like Christmas. In the past, the most common gift was bread, because obtaining grain in difficult Icelandic conditions was not easy. Today, gifts are mainly aimed at children and related to summer fun - skipping ropes, balls, soap bubbles. That's why supermarkets in Iceland usually have special sections with such products around the first day of summer.

The First Day of Summer in Iceland is not only a celebration of the changing seasons, but also an opportunity to strengthen social bonds and enjoy the upcoming period of brightness, warmth and outdoor activities together. This holiday, combined with the rich history and traditions of the island, becomes a unique experience for residents and tourists.