© Matthew Kuhns/Tandem Stills + Motio
At this time of year, people in Iceland are celebrating the start of the first summer month (Harpa) of the old Icelandic calendar. The year was split into just two seasons back then – summer and winter – so although it is still a bit chilly in April, it marks the lengthening of days and the end of the harsh winter. According to folklore, on the night before summer begins, if you put a dish of water outside and it freezes, you’ll have a good summer.
Icelanders celebrate the start of summer by taking part in flag-waving local parades, listening to marching bands and enjoying outdoor games and sports with family and friends. There’s a tradition of giving summer gifts (‘sumargjafir’), and those are often connected to outdoor activities – maybe a bike or a football, or new clothes to encourage children to play together in the fresh air after the long, cold winter.