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MY ICELAND: Midsummer Night

In Icelandic lore, there are four nights a year when mystical, magical things happen: the night before Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Twelfth Night [January 6] and Midsummer Night – tonight.

Many amazing things are supposed to happen on this night. Magical stones may be found that will make your wishes come true. Various types of healing grasses and herbs can be picked, just on this night. Cows gain the ability to speak – but if you do hear them, you must cover your ears, because anyone who listens in on their talk goes mad.* Also, the dew is very intense on this night, and it is said that if you roll around in it naked, you will be healed of whatever ails you, and will not become ill for an entire year afterwards.

Apparently it’s a common theme in Icelandic folklore that whenever something transgresses any sort of whole, some sort of threatening situation is initiated. Under such circumstances all sorts of forces are released, both good and bad, and things attain special, heightened powers [as in the magical stones, dew, etc.]. This applies, for example, when one process is complete and another begins, such as on the stroke of midnight, when a year is complete [on New Year’s Eve] and when the sun reaches its zenith in the sky, during Midsummer Night.**

Although not sure you’d want to do it in the dew, cuz you’d freeze your butt. The light is magical, at any rate – right now at almost 11 pm the sun casts a gorgeous gold hue and there’s not a cloud in the sky. It’s 11°C [52F], sunrise this morning was at 2.56 and sunset here in the capital will be at 12.03 tomorrow.

* Perhaps they use Google translator.
** Nicked from the Icelandic Science Web.

[This post is filed under MY ICELAND.]



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  • Tannálfurinn June 23, 2008, 11:21 pm

    Hi!!!I’m seriosly thinking about going out to roll in the grass after midnigth! But… I dont want to be alone. Wel yes, I want to be alone, in private but maybee with a friend

    Maybee I’ll just walk down to Laugardalur and roll around wery late 🙂 Join me?? he he

  • Dorothy Gale June 24, 2008, 3:41 am

    Lots of icelandic webcams with their location on

    and then of course the ones used by some transportation dpt on
    That site is particularly interesting in the winter.

  • alda June 24, 2008, 11:20 am

    Thanks Dorothy – I had to split the URL though because it was too long – anyone who is interested, take note! Just copy and paste it as one into your browser.
    It’s from the Public Roads Administration here in Iceland, BTW.
    ALSO – under that URL you want to choose ‘vefmyndavélar’ and then any one from the list that appears on the far right. They’re all over Iceland.
    Thanks for a great link!

  • JoeInVegas June 24, 2008, 2:30 pm

    Oh – thanks for the views. Rolling in the dew does sound cold, even at midsummer.
    Here’s one back to you; views of our Strip

  • tk June 24, 2008, 2:56 pm

    And one of polar bears:

    I always knew there was something fishy about Icelandic cows.

    (And, um, not to pick nits, Alda, but how can the sun reach its zenith at night? I feel obliged to ask, being in a building full of astronomers…)

  • Jon June 24, 2008, 3:40 pm

    Dorothy Gale – Thanks for those links! My Icelandic is non-existent, so the second site is a bit difficult to navigate, but I am figuring it out.

    Maybe after a roll in the dew a thermal pool would be nice!

  • linguaphile June 24, 2008, 6:30 pm

    If the cows could use Google translator, we might find that they’re smarter than some people. Happy solstice!

  • Cassie June 24, 2008, 8:46 pm

    Drat. I missed the talking cows. Maybe next year?

  • Sigga June 24, 2008, 9:07 pm

    Hey Alda, I went for a drive this morning 3am with mum, to check out the night / light sky.. Twas amazing, again reminded me of why I live here and not somewhere else. As for today – what a great sunny, warm wonderful day to be enjoying the first of what I hope will be many more “summer holiday” days.
    We are so lucky to be where we are despite the gloom and doom that the financial and political crowd keep ranting on about

  • alda June 24, 2008, 9:58 pm

    Joe – thanks for the link, but for some reason it doesn’t open on my laptop.

    Jon – yes, but unfortunately most of them are closed in the middle of the night.

    linguaphile – thanks, same to you!

    Cassie – indeed. maybe next year.

    Sigga – amen to that! Totally! 🙂