National Day of Iceland, History & Celebration
New Delhi (Article) – Icelanders celebrate National Day every June 17 – the date in 1944 when the Republic of Iceland was officially established and the country became independent from Danish rule.
The date was chosen as it coincides with the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson (1811-1879), one of the leaders of Iceland’s independence movement. The day is usually celebrated with large public gatherings and parades, but festivities will be slightly less bombastic tomorrow due to the COVID-19 pandem.
Iceland, island country located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Lying on the constantly active geologic border between North America and Europe, Iceland is a land of vivid contrasts of climate, geography, and culture. Sparkling glaciers, such as Vatna Glacier (Vatnajökull), Europe’s largest, lie across its ruggedly beautiful mountain ranges; abundant hot geysers provide heat for many of the country’s homes and buildings and allow for hothouse agriculture year-round; and the offshore Gulf Stream provides a surprisingly mild climate for what is one of the northernmost inhabited places on the planet.
NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATION
Iceland’s National Day, June 17, is celebrated every year to commemorate the establishment of a republic in Iceland in 1944. Before that time, however, the day also had a place in the hearts of Icelanders, because June 17 was Jón Sigurðsson’s birthday (1811-1879), Iceland’s main hero of independence. The day was chosen as a national holiday to honour his contribution to the Icelandic struggle for independence from Denmark.
Iceland Independence Day serves as a reminder of the nation’s freedom. It reminds people to cherish their independence. It took from 1918 to 1944 for Iceland to gain its independence from Denmark. If you’re looking for an informative way to pass an afternoon, do a bit of research into the history.
The first records of a glorious celebration on June 17 were from the year 1907 when Jón’s birthday was commemorated with a trumpet blast and speeches at Austurvellir in Reykjavík; the gathering numbered 4-6 thousand people or about half of all townspeople.
Iceland was founded more than 1,000 years ago during the Viking age of exploration and settled by a mixed Norse and Celtic population. The early settlement, made up primarily of Norwegian seafarers and adventurers, fostered further excursions to Greenland and the coast of North America (which the Norse called Vinland).
Despite its physical isolation some 500 miles (800 km) from Scotland—its nearest European neighbour—Iceland has remained throughout its history very much a part of European civilization. The Icelandic sagas, most of which recount heroic episodes that took place at the time the island was settled, are regarded as among the finest literary achievements of the Middle Ages, reflecting a European outlook while commemorating the history and customs of a people far removed from continental centres of commerce and culture.