June 17 is the Icelandic National Day! It is an annual holiday in Iceland which commemorates the foundation of The Republic of Iceland on 17 June 1944, when it severed all formal ties to Denmark. Mr. Sveinn Björnsson then became the first President of Iceland. June 17 is also the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson, the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement.
Today, Icelanders celebrate this holiday on a national scale. The celebration traditionally takes the form of a parade through each urban area with a brass band at the fore. Riders on Icelandic horses often precede the brass band and flagbearers from the Icelandic scout movement traditionally follow the brass band. After the parade speeches are held out in the open, including one from Fjallkonan (the woman of the mountain), clad in Skautbúningur, who recites a poem. She represents the fierce spirit of the Icelandic nation and of Icelandic nature. After speeches and ceremonies are over, less formal celebration such as musical events are set up.
Happy Icelandic National Day to our Icelandic neighbors!