This Sunday will be June 17th! What does this date mean for Iceland fans? Time to celebrate Íslenski þjóðhátíðardagurinn! That is the iclandic independence day. Streetparty everywhere. One should fly over again and eat pylsa með öllu (hotdog with everything) at Bæjarins beztu (“Bæjarins best”). If only pylsur sausages would not taste so disgusting. But eina með öllu (one with everything) is tasty nevertheless, thanks to the onions.
1918 Iceland declared independence from Denmark, after they were granted home rule in 1874. With the referendum of 1944 the last ties with Denmark were severed. Voters were asked whether the Union with Denmark should be abolished and whether to adopt a new republican constitution. More than 98% voted YES!
And why the heck is it June 17th? This is the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson. He was the leader of the Icelandic independence movement in the 19th century. That is why his picture can be found on the 500 krónur banknote (and also in the watermark of every icelandic banknote).
While being already there, it would be best to stay at least until the first Monday in August when there is a reason to celebrate again: It is Verslunarmannahelgi. Literally this means something like trader’s holiday. Most of the people have a day off. And this long weekend is at least as important as independence day for the Icelanders. That is why there are music festivals, events and party all over the country, when the sun does not set (at least not up in the north of the island). People are traveling out into the wilderness to party, drink and have a good time with family and friends around bonfires.
I will now go to the Consulate of Iceland to ask where I can get Hákarl and Brennivín here in Vienna to duly celebrate this great weekend.
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