Today is the 17th of June, which is Iceland´s national holiday, where we celebrate the foundation of the Icelandic republic and independence from Danish rule in 1944.
The specific date of the 17th of June was choosen in honor of Jon Sigurðsson, a leader of the 20th century independence movement and president of the Alþingi, our national parliament. Jon Sigurðsson was born in the West of Iceland in 17th of June in 1811, so only 3 years ago he was 200 years old.
The formation of the republic of Iceland was based on a clause in the 1918, Act of Union with Denmark, which allowed for a revision in 1943, as well as the results of the 1944 plebiscite. German occupation of Denmark meant that the revision could not take place and thus some Icelandic politicians demanded that Icelanders should wait until after the war.
The British and U.S governments, which occupied Iceland at the time, also delayed the declaration by asking the Icelandic parliament to wait until after 1943. Although saddened by the results of the plebiscite, King Christian X sent a letter on 17th of June 1944 ,congratulating Icelanders on forming a Republic.
The King was substituted for a President and the people of Iceland celebratde the end of a long struggle for total independence and praised Jón Sigurðsson for his early independence movement.
In Reykholt we celebrate the 17th of June in a traditional way. At eleven o'clock there is service in the church, we all stand outdoor waiting for the valley farmers to arrive in the horse parade with the icelandic flag in front.
After the church service we meet in the local community house, eat traditional Icelandic smoked lamb, listen to speeches, including one from Fjallkonan, or the "Mountain-woman", which is the Icelandic national symbol. Fjalkonan represents the fierce spirit of the Icelandic nation and it´s nature. After that we had coffee, the children played outside outdoor and the men competed in rope - pulling. Today is truly a great day to be an Icelander :)