Today is Iceland’s national day!

It's tradition that women that own the Icelandic national costume ...

It's tradition that women that own the Icelandic national costume wear it on the 17th of June. Photo: Iceland Monitor/Styrmir Kári

Today, 17 June, is Iceland’s national day and a holiday at that. But what's the story behind what the Icelanders simply call ‘the seventeenth of June’?

The date itself is the birth date of the Jón Sigurðsson, the leader of the 19th-century Icelandic independence movement. He was born on 17 June 1811 in the West Fjords.

After studying in Denmark, he served as an Icelandic MP and led his countrymen in their resistance to Danish rule. Five years before his death in 1879, Iceland secured a limited constitution from Denmark giving it autonomy in internal affairs.

You can read all about the life and work of Jón Sigurðsson here.

The day is celebrated all over Iceland with sweets, balloons, ...

The day is celebrated all over Iceland with sweets, balloons, music and more. Photo: Iceland Monitor/Eggert Jóhannesson

A national day of remembrance was first held on 17 June in 1911. The day was chosen as the day on which the newly independent Icelandic republic was founded in 1944 and since then it has been the Icelandic national day and a public holiday.

National day celebrations will be taking place in just about every town and village around Iceland. The festival includes a speech from a woman dressed in the national dress, cotton candy, balloons, face paint, parades, music and other typical festival fun.

To fit in perfectly, you can practice singing along to a couple of songs you might hear belted out during today’s celebrations:



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