… a.k.a. the 17th of June, Iceland’s National Day. The day we like to party. [Or, well, one of many.]
This day usually starts with a rather solemn event down on Austurvöllur square [site of all the protests, natch] where there are speeches and suchlike and the president [NOT the most popular person in Iceland right now] lays a wreath of flowers at the statue of independence hero Jón Sigurðsson on behalf of the Icelandic nation. Then there’s always a young actress who appears in a national costume as a symbol of the Fjallkona, the woman of the mountains, a female incarnation of Iceland [similar to Marianne in France] and who recites a poem.
And then it’s party time.
During the day the town is teeming with life, tons of activities for the kiddies, bands playing in various locations, etc. In the evening it turns more hardcore and can actually get a bit out of hand, especially late in the evening — but until then it’s usually just loads of fun with more bands and street acts, etc.
I drove past downtown about an hour ago and already there was lots of activity, even though the solemn bit was still happening — balloons and Icelandic flags all over the place, that sort of thing.
The weather looks set to cooperate, too — right now it’s partly cloudy and really mild, with hardly any wind.
Oh, yeah — old Hilary Clinton even sent us a birthday card, prompting one reader to remark: “It kind of sounds like, “Iceland, what’s the deal with China huh? We’re like, REALLY old friends”” Heheh. [See comments to this post.]
[ps you can get the full programme of events, in English, here.]