Text: Samantha Bazely

The Danish flag replaced the Icelandic one during one special weekend a year in Stykkisholmur. Houses were decorated with red and white; flags were hung down the street and townspeople prepared for a fun filled week.

Danish Days is a festival which typically happens towards the end of August. This town festival is a favourite among locals with attractions for all ages. As a small town with a Danish history (as mentioned in August Holiday’s in Iceland) the festival was created for a few different reasons. It was originally planned during the end of August as a way to stretch out the tourist season. However, with tourism now thriving in Iceland year round, the festival has become a great way to close out the summer.

This year is the 25th year of Danish Days. The schedule was full throughout the week with activites for all ages. The weekend festivities truly kicked off on Thursday evening with a tradition that the Danes brought to Iceland, grilling saugages and Snobrød (traditional Danish bread) for the whole family. Everyone gathered in the forest outside of town to grill, visit and eat!

Besides the movie night, which happened earlier in the week, Saturday brought on the main attraction for the kids and the young hearted adults! Throughout the day the festival offered a huge foam slide, face painting, a childrens play, traditional yard games, a barrel train to ride and even rope walking!

As a weekend geared towards the whole family, other activities included a market, museum openings, and neighborhood walks. Live music seemed a great way to cap off Friday and Saturdays activities. Townspeople donned their Icelandic peysa (traditional Icelandic sweaters) and enjoyed the live music on Friday night by a local band. Saturday night brought everyone together to sing and dance with an outdoor town singalong  and a dance into the early hours of Sunday morning.

As a immigrant who lives in Stykkisholmur, I was confused when I first moved here as to why we would have a celebration called Danish Days. Now that I have been here for a few years it has become an event that I look forward to throughout the year. It is exciting to watch the townspeople come together for a festival. Street names are changed, houses are decorated, and town is exceptionally lively throughout the week. Despite the chillier temperatures and brisk winds this weekend, everyone was still out and about enjoying the celebration. I am excited to watch my daughter grow up and take part in the festivities more and more as the years progress. Although the celebration is a local festival, it is nice to see tourists and other Icelanders take part as well. The campsite is always busier and everyone seems to enjoy coming together to eat, sing and celebrate the traditions. It is truly a great end to our summer.