April 25, 2013 - First Day of Summer in Iceland

Today in Iceland, the afternoon temperature is supposed to be just a little bit warmer than freezing. But there is going to be a brisk breeze that is going to make it feel a lot colder than that.

Hooray! It must be summer!


Despite the cold temperatures found in Iceland in late April, the beginning of summer is celebrated then. This year, it's celebrated today!

The idea of summer beginning in April goes back to the Old Norse calendar that divided the year into only two seasons, winter and summer. Even when it snows on the First Day of Summer, Icelanders celebrate the "arrival of summer" with parades, organized entertainment, sporting events, and family get-togethers.

Did you know...?

Iceland is sometimes described as “where Europe meets America.” This is because it is considered a part of Europe—and is fairly close to the northern parts of Europe, especially the British Isles—but is even closer to Greenland, which is part of North America.

Actually, Iceland sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the place where two pieces of the oceanic crust are spreading apart, making the Atlantic Ocean increase in size (ever so slowly). The Mid-Atlantic Ridge runs all the way from the Arctic to the Antarctic—but in the spot where Iceland is, there is a mantle plume. That means that liquid rock is pushing up in that one spot. The underwater volcanos formed above that plume eventually built up high enough to form islands.

Iceland is greener than the very icy Greenland.

Geothermal energy (harvesting the heat from the volcanos and the hot springs) provides about 80% of Iceland's energy needs. That means that energy is very cheap there compared to other nations. Icelanders are even able to heat some of the sidewalks of their cities during wintertime!

Iceland is known for more than volcanos and hot springs. It's got beautiful fjords (narrow inlets of the sea), powerful waterfalls, interesting landforms, and (at times) breathtaking northern lights in the nighttime sky. Check out the beauties of Iceland here and here

Iceland Is features a changing gallery of gorgeous photos at the top of the page and another at the “Iceland on Flickr” link at the bottom.

Also on this date:

World Penguin Day

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