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It’s Sautjándi júní!

… 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.

Me, I’m headed out to Viðey island for a family celebration. Will be back later, though, with another Best of Reykjavík post, this time focusing on Icelandic food — appropriately enough!

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.]

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  • Jeff Garland June 17, 2010, 1:30 pm

    You can watch some of the action on these two webcams
    http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com/icelandlive/#austurstraeti
    http://www.inspiredbyiceland.com/icelandlive/#skolavordustigur
    and I posted a lot of Icelandic music on my FB profile for background music: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1507110517
    Have a wonderful day.

  • Michael Lewis June 17, 2010, 2:18 pm

    Happy Sautjándi !

    Somewhat off topic, but does everyone in Iceland own one of those jumpers: the black/brown one with some white bits at the top in a sort of triangle. They seem remarkably popular , as if its some sort of Icelandic symbol. On the tourist websites, I see happy smiling faces, all wearing the -same- jumper.

    I’m a month a way from my fishing trip (look out bars, look out trout), and I’m thinking of a suitable present to take back for my wife: I’ve resolved to get one of those jumpers – she’ll look like a weird Polynesian/Icelandic hybrid.

    A guide along the lines of ‘where to go and have a drink’ would be great too!

  • Karen June 17, 2010, 4:23 pm

    Happy National Day, Iceland!

  • Øystein June 17, 2010, 8:31 pm

    Gratulerer med dagen! National television here (Norway) sends the movie “Myra”.

  • hildigunnur June 17, 2010, 11:14 pm

    Michael, yes you really sort of aren’t an Icelander if you don’t own a lopapeysa! My 14 year old daughter commissioned one from her grandmother today as a matter of fact 😀