Independence Day is an annual holiday celebrated in countries around the world commemorating the anniversary of the nation's independence. Each country has it's own reason to celebrate and many are celebrated similarly under other names such as National Day, Foundation Day, Statehood Day or name the day for their country.
On June 17th, the birth date of Jón Sigurðsson, Iceland celebrates its independence from Denmark. Jón Sigurðsson was not actually around when Iceland gained its independence in 1944, but he fought hard in the years before it to free his country. He is considered to be the leader of Iceland's independence movement which is why his birthday was chosen as the celebration date.
Iceland's National Day is typically marked with parades, ceremonies, and festivities
Independence day celebrations in Iceland centers in Reykjavik, where there are parades, games for kids, and various forms of entertainment including dancing and music.
The main event though is the “Lady of the Mountain”
The celebration starts at 10 AM when all of the church bells in Reykjavik begin to chime. From there begins parades consisting of marching bands, scouts, and other Icelanders. One parade is led through Reykjavik by Fjallkonan, also known as the “Lady of the Mountain.” A different woman is chosen every year to be the Lady of the Mountain, normally a local and respected actress. She is expected to be the human representation of the country and even dresses in the national costume. At the end of the parade in front of the statue of Jón Sigurðsson at Austurvöllur square, she reads a poem or an address commemorating Iceland’s independence.
Other towns in Iceland also choose their own Lady of the Mountain to lead their parades. Their Lady of the Mountain is often an older woman from the town, or a young woman who has just graduated.
Along with the parades, Reykjavik sets up different kinds of family amusement. There are stands for food like cotton candy and hot dogs, bounce houses, games, and stages for various forms of entertainment. This entertainment consists of music, circus, and dance. Icelandic artists put on concerts from the afternoon until the evening, and circus’ present shows and charming characters. In previous years the independence day celebrations have coincided with the Secret Solstice music festival. The festivities usually come to a close around 6 PM, but many citizens choose to continue celebrating the day through informal parties.