Icelanders are very much into celebrating life, be it an ordinary Friday or Bolludagur (the cream puff say) you will see some signs of it. People saying “SKÁL” at the local bars or every single bakery has a line. A few years ago this would have meant that during National Holidays everything would be closed but now, with the tourism booming, this really isn’t the case.
Today you can get a meal at a restaurant or at your hotel and will not go hungry even if you are visiting over a National Holiday which is a big step upwards from our first days with tourist visiting. Icelanders would simply close everything down with little to no warning.
What Icelanders still take quite seriously are Christmas and Easter but if you are looking to visit a touristy place, for example, let’s say the Blue Lagoon, it will be open all year round just for a shorter time on the holiest of days.
In this article, we will first mention the days that might result in changes opening times but later the most interesting days Icelanders celebrate. Enjoy!
Here is your guide to public holidays in Iceland
The National Holiday Calendar in Iceland
Nýársdagur or New Year’s Day – 1st of January
Skírdagur or Maundy Thursday – the last Thursday before Easter
Föstudagurinn Langi or Good Friday – the last Friday before Easter
Páskar or Easter – March or April (changes annually)
Sumardagurinn fyrsti or First Day of Summer – The first Thursday after the 18th of April
Verkalýðadagurinn or Labour Day – 1st of May
Uppstigningardagur or Ascension Day – May or June (changes annually)
Hvítasunnudagur or Whit Sunday and annar í Hvítasunnu or Whit Monday – May or June (changes annually)
Þjóðhátíðardagur Íslendinga or Iceland’s National Day – 17th of June
Frídagur Verslunarmanna or Commerce Day or Shopkeeper’s Day – the first Monday in August
Aðfangadagur or Christmas Eve – 24th of December
Jóladagur or Christmas Day – 25th of December
Annar í jólum or Boxing Day – 26th of December
Gamlárskvöld or New Year’s Eve – 31st of December
Other Interesting Days in the Icelandic Calendar
Janúar – January
- 6th – Þrettándinn, the day Christmas officially ends
- 19-25. January – Þorri originally it was the 4th month of winter in Iceland but today we host a Þorra-blót (the old Viking word for a party) and eat all the food we used to eat in the settlement times, fermented shark, ram testicles in jello, dry fish, rye bread, sour whale and so on and so forth.
- 19-25. January – Bóndadagur e. Farmer’s Day or Husband’s Day where we celebrate the men in our lives. It is a single day celebrated in between these dates and is always the Friday on the 13th week of Winter (according to the Viking way of counting the months).
2019 – 25th of January
2020 – 24th of January
2021 – 22nd of January
Febrúar – February
- 7 weeks before Easter we have a 3-day food feast:
1. Bolludagur – cream bun day!
2. Sprengidagur – where we eat salted meat and bean soup until we feel like we are going to explore hence the name Sprengidagur e. Explosion Day.
3. Öskudagur – the Icelandic version of Halloween.
- 18-24. February – Konudagur e. Women’s Day where we celebrate the women in our lives. It is a single day celebrated in between these dates.
2019 – 24th of February
2020 – 23rd of February
2021 – 21st of February
Mars – March
Apríl – April
Maí – May
- 8-14.May – Mæðradagur e. Mother’s Day celebrating our mothers and the mothers in our lives celebrated on the second Sunday in May.
2019 – 12th of May
2020 – 10th of May
2021 – 9th of May
Júní – June
- 1st Sunday in June – Sjómannadagurinn e. Sailor’s Day celebrated all around the country with parades, musical acts and games.
2019 – 2nd of June
2020 – 7th of June
2021 – 6th of June
Júlí – July
Ágúst – August
- 2nd Saturday in August – Gay Pride in Reykjavík.
2019 – 10th of August
2020 – 8th of August
2021 – 7th of August
- 3rd of the 4th weekend in August – Menningarnótt or Cultural Night in Reykjavik.
2019 – 24th of August
2020 – 22nd of August
2021 – 21st of August
September – September
Október – October
Nóvember – November
- 2nd Sunday in November – Feðradagur e. Father’s Day where we celebrate the fathers in our lived.
2019 – 10th of November
2020 – 8th of November
2021 – 14th of November
- 16th of November – Dagur Íslenskrar Tungu e. The Day of the Icelandic Language.
Desember – December
- 1st of December – Fullveldisdagurinn Íslendinga e. The Day of Iceland’s Sovereignty.