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17 Júní 2024, 80 years of independence!

BR blog - 17 june 2.0
12/06/2024 11:06

This year marks 80 years since Iceland officially gained it´s independence from Denmark, Icelander´s National Day, June 17, is celebrated every year to celebrate the establishment of a republic in this country in 1944. This day is also the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879), our very own independence hero. So, this day is very special for us in Iceland!

Þjóðhátíðardagur or National Day was a more solemn day with tame entertainment. It was kept low-key, with minimal drinking. Fast forward to today, and it's evolved into a different scene! It is now more about having a fun day off, with entertainment and balloons for the kids, and lively concerts for the grown-ups. With many bars and restaurant getting filled up from opening until closing. But no matter how things have changed, June 17 is still a day we hold close to our hearts.

Special Program at Þingvellir on June 15th and 16th.

In honor of this momentous 80th anniversary, Þingvellir National Park is hosting a special program on June 15 and 16. Here’s what’s happening:

Viking Encampment: From 1:00 to 5:00 PM on both days, you can check out Viking tents and see how they lived back in the day. It’s a great way to step into history!

Food Trucks: Grab some delicious bites from food trucks on June 15 from 1:00 to 5:00 PM and again on June 16 from 1:00 to 10:00 PM.

Musical Entertainment: Enjoy live music on the evening of June 16, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. It’s the perfect way to soak up the festive atmosphere.

Walk with the President: On June 16 at 11:00 AM, you have a unique opportunity to take a walk with the President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, starting from the visitors center at Hakið. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy a leisurely stroll with the head of state!

For more information on Þingvellir (Thingvellir) you can go on the national park website here.

Kick-Off Ceremony at Austurvöllur, June 17th.

The festivities start bright and early at 11:10 AM at Austurvöllur. The ceremony is broadcast on RÚV the national television broadcasting channel, featuring the President laying a wreath at Jón Sigurðsson's memorial and a celebratory speech from the Prime Minister.

Fjallkonan

Don’t miss the "Fjallkonan" speech or mountain woman– her identity is kept a surprise until the ceremony! But who is this mountain woman you ask! Fjallkonan, is a cherished symbol of Icelandic national identity. Inspired by the European romantic era's tradition of using female figures to represent nations, such as Hibernia for Ireland and Marianne for France, Fjallkonan emerged to embody Iceland itself. She is a personification that reflects Iceland's nature and heritage. The concept first gained prominence in the early 19th century, where Fjallkonan is depicted as a beloved figure representing the country's spirit. Traditionally, Fjallkonan is portrayed in the "skautbúningur," a national costume featuring intricate embroidery and a tall headdress, symbolizing Iceland's rich cultural history. This iconic figure is celebrated annually during Iceland's National Day, where a young woman, often an actress, recites a special address embodying Fjallkonan's spirit. This role, first officially performed in Iceland in 1944, underscores her enduring significance in Icelandic culture and history.

Independence Day Parade

Get ready for the big parade at 1:00 PM! Starting from Hallgrímskirkja, scouts lead the way to Hljómskálagarður Park. Expect lots of fun characters, a brass band, and a whole lot of festive spirit. Everyone’s welcome to join in the fun, so come along and be part of the celebration! Fun in Hljómskálagarður Park Hljómskálagarður Park will be buzzing with activities for all ages. There are concerts, a nature trail, playgrounds, a bouncy castle, and some amazing circus acts. Art groups from Hitt Húsið and Götuleikhús will put on cool performances around the park. And don’t forget to check out the yummy food trucks for a tasty treat!

Creative Summer Groups & Street Theater of Hitt Húsið

The Creative Summer Groups and Street Theater of Hitt Húsið are bringing some awesome pop-up dance, singing, and theater shows. These performances are perfect for anyone who loves a bit of artsy fun! They’ll be popping up all over the city center, especially in Hljómskálagarður Park, so keep an eye out for the exact spots closer to the day.

Open House at The Reykjavík School of Home Economics

On June 17, from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM, swing by The Reykjavík School of Home Economics at Sólvallagata 12 for a cozy open house. Enjoy free coffee and cake, and if you show up in national costume, that’s even better! Bring your crafts, relax, and join us for a lovely, traditional time. Everyone’s welcome!

So, mark your calendars and get ready for a fantastic day of celebrations! We hope to see you there enjoying the festivities. For more info on the national day program click here.

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