June 17th, is a very happy and important day for the people of Iceland. On this day, in 1944, The Republic of Iceland was formed, and independence was gained from Denmark, after hundreds of years of dependence. This date, which was pushed back several times, because the British, American, and Danish governments wanted Iceland's parliament to wait until after World War II ended, was chosen because it was the birthday of Jon Sigurdsson, who pushed for independence for Iceland back in the 19th century. It should be noted that the king of Denmark, King Christian X, in a show of respect, did send a letter of congratulations to the new Icelandic government. Sveinn Bjornsson was elected Iceland's first president.
Today Icelanders celebrate this day with parades, lead by a brass band, their famous horses, and many flag waving patriotic marchers. Then the speeches begin, including one by the Woman of the Mountain, "The Fjallkonan", who recites poetry. She represents Iceland, the way our Statue of Liberty does America, as a spiritual representation of the volatility, and beauty, that is their homeland. Then the party begins ! They enjoy good food, music, dancing, and for the kiddies, candy and balloons.
I never felt any link to Iceland until two years ago when I traveled there. I had read all the sagas, but I am Norwegian and never felt a connection. However, from the moment I stepped off of the plane, all that changed ! The people of Iceland are very friendly, intelligent, and kind. They speak english as well as we do, and seem to truly enjoying conversing no matter what language they use. The history of the country is unbelievable, ( I went to their National Museum several times), and the nature and geology is breathtaking ! The waterfall Gullfoss, Geysirs, Volcanoes, Glaciers, and Tectonic Plates ! It is just incredible ! Add to this the formation of the Asatruarfelagid, and the resurrection of our ancient religion in 1973, and you will hopefully understand why this, Norwegian - American has such respect and admiration for this tiny island nation, and her wonderful people.
I raise my horn in great honor and respect to the history, nature and geology of this great land called Iceland. And to her beautiful people, on this day, your day, I raise my horn and drink a mighty toast. To the wonderful people of Iceland I say Skal !!!!!
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love and Thor's protection !