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Icelandic Holidays & Festivals

The old Icelandic Calendar is not used anymore but many Icelandic holidays and celebrations are related to these dates. Below you will find information on the months and the holidays.


The 12 months are separated by Skammdegi or Short Days in the winter months and Náttleysi or Nightless Days in the summer months. The calendar was based around the solstices and equinoxes. The year begins around the winter solstice.


  • Skammdegi ("Short days")

  1. Gormánuður (mid October - mid November, "slaughter month" or "Gór's month") starts on Saturday.

  2. Ýlir (mid November - mid December, "Yule month") starts on Monday

  3. Mörsugur (mid December - mid January, "fat sucking month") Starts on Wednesday

  4. Þorri (mid January - mid February, "frozen snow month") starts of Friday

  5. Góa (mid February - mid March, "Góa's month or Nór") starts on Sunday

  6. Einmánuður (mid March - mid April, "lone" or "single month") Starts on Tuesday

  • Náttleysi ("Nightless days")

  1. Harpa (mid April - mid May, Harpa is a female name, probably a forgotten goddess, first day of Harpa is celebrated as Sumardagurinn fyrsti - first day of summer) Starts on Thursday

  2. Skerpla (mid May - mid June, another forgotten goddess) Starts on Saturday

  3. Sólmánuður (mid June - mid July, "Sun Month") Starts on Monday

  4. Heyannir (mid July - mid August, "Hay Month or Business Month") starts on Sunday

  5. Tvímánuður (mid August - mid September, "two" or "second month") Starts on Tuesday

  6. Haustmánuður (mid September - mid October, "autumn month") Starts on Thursday


January 1 -Nýársdagur - New Year´s Day


January 6 - Þrettándinn – Epiphany or the 12th Night - the last day of Christmas. Þrettándinn literally means ‘The Thirteenth.’


January 22 - Bóndadagur - Husband´s Day to begin the month of Þorri  Falls on the Friday that falls between January 19 - January 25.


January 22 – February 20 is the month of Þorri – Frozen Snow Month

Þorrablót - Viking midwinter traditional feast held during Þorri.


January 28 - Sólarkaffi - Sun Coffee Day - to celebrate the reappearance of the sun after the winter sun finally rises in the sky above the mountain tops. Celebrated with coffee and pancakes.

February 15 - Bolludagur - Bun Day – Shrove Monday - the day 2 days before lent


February 16 - Sprengidagur - Shrove Tuesday or Bursting Day - day before Lent celebrated by eating salted meat and other foods. Known as Fat Tuesday in North America.


Langafasta - Lent starts 4 weeks before Easter


February 17 - Öskudagur - Ash Wednesday - beginning of Lent


February 21 – March 23 – the month of Góa


February 21 - Konudagur - Women´s Day/Housewife´s Day - First Day of Góa (Sunday between February 18 – 24)


March 1 – Bjórdagurinn - Beer Day - the 75-year prohibition of beer was lifted March 1, 1989


March 23 – April 21 – the month of Einmánuðr – Single Month and always starts on a Tuesday.


March 28 - Pálmasunnudagur - Palm Sunday – Sunday before Easter Sunday, also called Passion Sunday


April 1 - Skírdagur - Maundy Thursday - Thursday before Easter Sunday


April 2 - Föstudagurinn Langi - Long Friday or Good Friday - Friday before Easter Sunday


April 4 - Páskadagur - Easter Sunday


April 5 - Annar í Páskum - Easter Monday - Day following Easter or literal translation, Second in Easter.


April 22 - Sumardagurinn fyrsti - 1st Day of Summer (First Thursday after 18 April)


April 22 – May 21 – the month of Harpa – named after a goddess and will always begin on a Thursday.


May 1 – Verkalýðsdagurinn – The Laborer´s Day Holiday in Iceland. Also called May Day.


May 9 – Mæðradagurinn - Mother´s Day


May 11 - Lokadagur - Final Day - last day of fishing season


May 13 – Uppstigningardagur - Ascension Day - Holy Thursday, 6 weeks after Maundy Thursday and the day that Jesus ascended into heaven 40 days after his resurrection.


May 22 – June 20 – the month of Skerpla – named after another goddess (starts on Saturday)


May 23 - Hvítasunnudagur - Whit Sunday – Literally translated to White Sunday. 7 weeks or 50 days after Easter also known as Pentecost. Celebrated as the birthday of the church because this is when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles and the followers of Jesus. Historically related to when God gave the 10 Commandments at Mount Sinai to Moses.


May 24 – Annar í hvítasunnu - Whit Monday - Icelandic Holiday literally translated Second in White Sunday


May 31 - Jun 6 - Fardagar - Moving Days - on Thursday - Sunday in the 7th week of summer


June - first Sunday in June – Sjómannadagurinn - Seaman´s Day


June 17 – Lýðveldisdagurinn - Icelandic Republic Day- celebrate Iceland´s Independence


June 21 - Summer Solstice - the longest day of the year. The sun rises at about 2:54 a.m. and sets about 24:04.

This is the beginning of the month of Sólmándur or Sun Month which ends on July 20.


June 24 - Jónsmessa – Jóns Mass - St. John Baptist´s Day


July 13 - August 23 - Hundadagur - Dog Days


July 20 - Þorláksmessa - St. Þorlákur´s Day Mass where his bones were exhumed and put in a shrine. Icelanders eat a simple meal usually of skate.


July 21 – July 24 – the month of Sumarauki and always starts on a Wednesday.


July 25 – August 23 – the month of Heyannir or Business Month and always starts on a Sunday.


August - Verslunarmannahelgi - August Long Weekend or Bank Holiday Weekend - First weekend in August


August 2 – Frídagur Verslunarmanna – Holiday of the Tradesmen - First Monday is Tradesmen´s Day


Töðugjöld - Harvest Home or Hay Bonus observed to celebrate the hay being safely gathered.


August 24 – September 22 – the month of Tvímánuður or Second Month and begins on a Tuesday.


August 29 – Höfuðdagur - Head Day - The beheading of St. John the Baptist and a weather omen day for the weather to stay the same for 3 more weeks.


Réttir - Round Up of the sheep and horses from the highlands to the farms.


September 23 – October 22 – Haustmánuður or Autumn month and always begins on a Thursday


Fyrsti Vetrardagur – First Day of Winter


October 23 – November 21 – Gormánuður is the name of this month and begins on a Saturday.


November 16 – Dagur Íslenskrar Tungu – Day of the Icelandic Tongue or Icelandic Language Day. This day was chosen to coincide with the birthday of the Icelandic poet Jónas Hallgrímsson.


November 22 – December 22 – The month of Ýlir  - Yule Month and begins on a Monday.


December 1 – Fullveldisdagurinn – Self-governance Day. On this day in 1918, Iceland became a sovereign state but remained part of the Danish Kingdom.


December 23 - St. Þorlákur´s Day - Iceland´s main native saint is St. Þorlákur Þórhallsson, Bishop of Skálholt. He has 2 days dedicated to him and this one commemorates his death.


December 22, 2010 – January 20, 2011 -  the month of Mörsugur or Sucking Month and always starts on a Wednesday.


Jól - Yule/Christmas Celebrations start at 6 p.m. on December 24 and end on January 6th, the last day of Christmas.


December 24 - Aðfangadagur - Yule Eve/Christmas Eve


December 25 - Jóladagur - Yule Day/Christmas Day


December 26 - Annar Jóladagur - Boxing Day (Another Yule Day)


December 31 - Gamlárskvöld – Old Year´s Evening. Also known as New Year´s Eve.

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