Today is a special day in Iceland: “Dagur íslenskrar tungu” (literally “Day Of The Icelandic Tongue,” i.e. “Icelandic Language Day”).
This day is chosen on account of it also being the birthday of famed poet, writer and naturalist Jónas Hallgrímsson. In 1835, Jónas and others published the first edition of the magazine Fjölnir, which sought to promote Icelandic nationalism—and in so doing, encourage Icelandic independence—at a time when the country was still very much a colony of Denmark.
First celebrated in 1996, Icelandic Language Day is a time for celebrating the beauty and preservation of the Icelandic language, usually capped off with the Ministry of Culture and Education giving someone the Jónas Hallgrímsson Award for their contributions to the language.
There are also normally many events all over the country in celebration of this day, a lot of which you can find here.
Even if you don’t speak or understand Icelandic very well—and a lot of people do find it quite difficult to learn—you might still want to familiarise yourself with some of Iceland’s most noteworthy words, lovingly compiled for you here.
Til hamingju með daginn!
Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.
You can also check out our shop, loaded with books, apparel and other cool merch, that you can buy and have delivered right to your door
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!