Sumardagurinn fyrsti: First day of summer in Iceland

The first day of summer, sumardagurinn fyrsti, is today!

Yes, it is still freezing but put on your Sunday-summer-best and take part in the parades (skrúðganga) that are taking place in many towns and many city neighborhoods. You may very well catch pneumonia or cystitis, but it's just part and parcel of this particular holiday, and kinda doesn't count, because it‘s summer!

Be sure to buy some of the must-have items to celebrate this public holiday, such as balloons (blöðrur), hot dogs (pulsur) and ice-cream (ís). And kandífloss, of course.

The day has its origins in the old Icelandic calendar when there were six months of short days and six months of nightless days (summer).

The first Thursday after April 18 marks the beginning of the first summer month, Harpa. According to Icelandic superstition, the summer ahead will be a good one if summer and winter "freeze together", meaning if the temperature drops to below freezing the night before the first day of summer. The name Harpa may have its origins in the word herping, which basically refers to hard times, weather-wise. Most people never stop hoping that this summer will be different: warm and sunny, less cold and windy than last years'. Hope keeps us going, although, almost without fail, summer will bring its share of "hard times",  with loads of rain, cold fronts, windy days,etc.

Yeah, they got things a bit wrong in the olden days in terms of their seasonal assumptions, but no need to correct that – as long as it‘s a holiday!

Gleðilegt sumar!