First Day of Summer in Iceland

The first day of summer in Iceland, known as Sumardagurinn Fyrsti, is a unique and cherished event celebrated across the country. This festive occasion marks the beginning of the Icelandic summer season and is a public holiday filled with various customs and traditions.

The first day of summer in Iceland typically falls on the third Thursday in April, according to the Old Norse calendar. This calendar divides the year into two seasons - winter and summer. While the exact date varies each year, it is always determined by the calendar and remains a significant event for Icelanders.


The celebration of the first day of summer in Iceland can be traced back to the Viking Age when the settlers used the Old Norse calendar. This calendar was crucial for the agricultural society, as it helped to determine the appropriate time for planting and harvesting crops. The arrival of summer was considered a time of renewal and hope, and it became a popular occasion for people to gather and celebrate.

Although the origins of Sumardagurinn Fyrsti are deeply rooted in Iceland's Viking history, the modern holiday has been officially observed since 1921. The public holiday was established to honor the traditional Icelandic calendar and to preserve the nation's cultural heritage.


National customs for the first day of summer in Iceland

Sumardagurinn Fyrsti is celebrated with various customs and events throughout Iceland. Parades and outdoor gatherings are common, featuring live music, performances, and traditional Icelandic dances. Children play a significant role in the festivities, as they participate in the parades and receive gifts, such as toys and sweets, from their parents.

Another popular tradition on this day is the exchanging of summer gifts between friends and family. These gifts are usually small and symbolic, representing wishes for a bountiful summer season. It's also common for people to enjoy traditional Icelandic foods, such as plokkfiskur (a fish and potato stew) and skyr (a yogurt-like dairy product), during their celebrations.

Local customs for the first day of summer in Iceland

In addition to the national customs and celebrations, local communities in Iceland often have their own unique ways of welcoming the summer season. In some towns, for example, residents may organize sports competitions, art exhibitions, or even horse shows to commemorate the first day of summer. These local customs contribute to the diverse and vibrant atmosphere of the holiday.


The first day of summer in Iceland, Sumardagurinn Fyrsti, is a special time when the entire nation comes together to celebrate the arrival of warmer days and longer nights. Rooted in the country's Viking history, this public holiday has evolved into a joyful occasion filled with parades, music, and various customs that both preserve Iceland's cultural heritage and welcome the bright summer season.