The first day of summer!
The third Thursday of April marks the beginning of summer in Iceland. This day is an official holiday called, you guessed it; The First Day of Summer. People get the day off from work and the schools are closed. In every town there is a festival, complete with a parade, music and festivities, to celebrate that the dark winter is over and the bright summer is ahead. The focus is on the children and it is a custom to give children summer gifts, usually some toy to use outdoors. It is also a custom to wish your friends, coworkers and members of your family a happy summer.
Due to the Covid epidemic the first day of summer is much different this year. All parades and festivities have been cancelled but we still get the day off from work and school, and families try to do something fun together.
According to old Icelandic beliefs the weather in the summer ahead will be good if winter and summer “freeze together”, that is if there are sub-zero temperatures at midnight between the last day of winter and the first day of summer. That did not happen this year, so we will have to see how the weather turns out this summer.