Midnight Sun Run in Reykjavík

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Iceland’s Midnight Sun Run takes place for the 25th time on June 23rd in Reykjavik. The run is unique because it starts late in the evening, in the bright summer night. The race is held around summer solstice which means that during the night it does not get dark at all– it’s very much a midsummer celebration!  

The timing of the run is also unique because according to Icelandic folklore this particular night is considered very mystical. It is the night prior to Jónsmessa or Midsummer night, an Icelandic holiday named after John the Baptist, held on June 24th. The folklore claims that at midnight on June 23rd both good and evil forces unleash and you can expect mysterious things to happen.

Participants of the Midnight sun run can choose between three distances, 5k, 10k and half marathon. Close by the start and finish of the race is one of the city’s wonderful geothermal outdoor swimming pools, Laugardalslaug where participants are invited to take a midnight swim or relax in the hot tubs after the race. 

The First Day of Summer

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The First Day of Summer will be celebrated on Thursday April 20, it is an annual public holiday in Iceland held on the first Thursday after April 18. In former times Icelanders used the Old Norse calendar which divided the year into only two seasons, winter and summer and that is the reason why the first day of summer is celebrated rather early.

Although the weather in late April is often not very nice, after the long winter Icelanders still celebrate the first day of summer with parades, sporting events and organized entertainment, held in various places around Iceland.

The festivities in the center of Reykjavík will be held at Klambratún, a large park where you’ll find a variety of activities, a playground for children, Frisbee golf court, a basketball court and a beach volleyball court.  Free hot dogs and bike repairing for the children in the neighborhood will be available along with organized entertainment and games of all sorts.  Kjarvalsstaðir, the art museum is located in the park which makes visiting the museum an ideal idea to spice up the day.

Another type of festivities will be taking place in the center and that is a 5 K race through the streets of downtown Reykjavík which has been an integral part of the festivities since 1916.

Enjoy the first day of summer, let‘s hope the weather will be nice!