One can call Iceland, the land of the Midnight sun, as this natural phenomenon occurs in the summer months. How does Icelanders Celebrates Summer Solstice?
What is the Midnight Sun?
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that happens north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle every summer. In these areas the sun is visible for the entire day, or a consecutive 24-hour span of sunlight. The sun remains visible at the local time of midnight.
When is the Midnight Sun in Iceland?
In Iceland, the highest peak in the daylight period is called Sumarsólstöður or Summer Solstice and always take place from the 20th of June to the 22nd. So the midnight sun stays visible for more than 21 hours in Reykjavík in the middle of summer. Although the is at it highest point in June, there are bright nights from early May and as late as July.
What about the winter solstice?
During the winter solstice (December 21), the days are much shorter. The sun will rise at 11:21 and set at 15:30. That means that the capital city of Reykjavík, barely gets 4 hours of daylight, while the Westfjords get 2 hours and 45 minutes.
How many hours of sunlight does Iceland get?
The daylight in Iceland is from mid-May to mid-August and the sun only sets for around 3 hours per day, and there is effectively light for the whole 24-hour period. In midwinter, there are around 5 hours of effective daylight.
How Iceland Celebrates Summer Solstice
Icelanders celebrate Jonsmessa or Midsummer Night (St. John‘s Mass) and is always celebrated on the night of the 24th of June. The night, named after John the Baptist, is thought to have supernatural powers. To celebrate in the true style of the Old Norse, there is a tradition of rolling naked in the morning dew on the summer solstice. In Iceland this night is thought to be one of the four most magical and powerful nights in Iceland and it is belived that cows gain speech, magical stones float to the top of ponds, seals become human and elves will try to tempt humans over to their world. It’s also said that rolling around naked in the dew on Jonsmessa has healing qualities.