Today is the last day of winter. In many parts of the country, the weather outlook calls for winter and summer to “freeze together,” as we call it, since temperatures will be below freezing tomorrow morning, on the First Day of Summer. According to folklore, the freezing together of summer and winter means that the summer will be a good one.
Thus, there are only two seasons in Iceland, summer and winter, according to the Old Norse calendar. The First Day of Summer is a public holiday. On that day, it’s an old custom to give your children a summer gift.
Ironically, the First Day of Summer is often a cold one, inspiring one of our best known poets, Þórarinn Eldjárn, to write a poem once about this day, which he called not Sumardagurinn fyrsti, or First Day of Summer, but ‘Sumardagurinn frysti,’ meaning Frosty Day of Summer. Many of us have memories of marching in parades on the First Day of Summer, behind a brass band, dressed in hats, mittens and winter coats.