Þjóðhátíð Festival The Biggest Annual Outdoor Festival In Iceland
Where: – Heimaey, Westmann Islands, Iceland
With the beginning of the last weekend of July, all the Icelanders prepare for their biggest annual outdoor holiday, named- ‘Verslunarmannahelgi.’ They enjoy their holiday by getting soaked into the celebrations of their life time! Þjóðhátíð Festival is the most remarkable of all which is celebrated on ‘Westmann Island’, an island parted from the mainland!
Camping, partying, boozing, dancing, singing- Icelanders get involved in literally everything to enjoy the biggest festival on their land. For the three days of the festival, the frosty land of Iceland turns into the jamboree of sleep-deprived, party animals those get wilder with every sip of vodka & every louder bit of music!
Why They Celebrate Þjóðhátíð Festival?
Þjóðhátíð Festival was celebrated for the first time in 1874 onWestmann Island. In order to celebrate the 1000-year anniversary of the adaptation of Icelandic Constitution, the entire mainland of Iceland got immersed into the celebrations & parties. However, due to the bad weather, Westmann residents couldn’t make it to the mainland. So, instead of sitting aloof with long faces, Westmann local lads decided to celebrate the anniversary in their own way which laid the stepping stone of a vivacious tradition of ‘Þjóðhátíð Festival’ celebrated on the first weekend of August every year.
How They CelebrateÞjóðhátíð Festival?
The ‘Þjóðhátíð Festival’ which is also called as ‘The People’s Fest’ is celebrated in the presence of the mammoth crowd comprising of 11000 to 16000 individuals which are roughly four times the actual population of ‘Westmann Island’! ‘Heimaey’ being the host of the party, 11,000 to 13,000 people travel from the mainland of Iceland to be a part of this grand ceremony.
The festival begins on the first Friday of the August & lasts until Sunday of the same weekend. For the three days, the ecstasy in Iceland-especially in Westmann Island, hits the top of the charts. The festival has three highlights during the enchanted weekend. The celebration begins with an amazing bonfire at the evening amidst spine chilling cold breezes, swallowing homemade smoked puffins & brownies & sipping & sharing vodka.
The Saturday night that follows next is kept reserved for the amazing firework show. The celebration on the last day, i.e. on Sunday the festival reaches to the climax as various Scandinavian bands rock the stage. Sing-along event with the local star ‘Arni Johnsen’ at the foot of a hill takes the celebration to the top notch as all the attendees sing various Icelandic folk songs along with Arni! As midnight approaches, the entire valley gets illuminated by spectacular red torches which represent Island’s volcano flames.
Throughout all the three nights of the festival, parties remain on for 24X7 due to which it is always advisable to have ample amount of sleep before entering this island. As the camping place is located right in the heart of the action, the idea of catching some sleep in your tent will be next to impossible. Moreover, local ‘Sleep Police’ make it sure that nobody dares to catch up with some power naps & kindly try to encourage them not to waste the day!
Although the festival lasts for only three days, many visitors prefer to flock this place well in advance to enjoy their stay on this adorable island & more importantly, to reserve lavish place for their camps. The festival organizers make it sure that every individual attending the festival will have an unforgettable time at this venue. They make ‘all inclusive’ impressive schedule that includes various events to entertain all age groups. The generation gap between the families gets sealed & new bonds of love & care are woven. Everyone gather here with only one purpose- ‘Have fun & enjoy the Life’!