Midsummer’s Night Walking Tour 23 June
In celebration of Midsummer’s Night (St John’s Day), the Reykjavik City Museum will be hosting a fun (and free) walking tour with a focus on Icelandic culture and nature. Guided by historian Stefán Pálsson, the tour, which starts at 22:30 on the evening of Sunday 23rd June, sets off from the Árbær Open Air Museum and takes guests on a lovely walk to the beautiful Elliðaárdal Valley with stops at selected sights on the way to hear fascinating stories about Icelandic folklore and local history. Spoken language is Icelandic.
Midsummer’s Night is often associated with tales of the supernatural, and it is said that on this evening, the veil between worlds is thinnest than on other nights. It was a widespread belief that on this date there was healing power to be found in fallen dew if you rolled around in it naked. It was also thought possible that stones could be found with magical powers.
Midsummer’s Night in Iceland has always been portrayed differently than it has in Europe, where it is foremost a midsummer festival celebrated with bonfires and dances to ward off supernatural beings, witches and demons.
Conditions of nature, work and society in Iceland have prevented the festival from being celebrated in the same way as in other countries.
Vast and thinly populated rural areas made it difficult for gatherings to take place and a lack of forests with no wood to burn made dancing and singing around bonfires next to impossible.
The meeting point for the guided walking tour is by the entrance to the Árbær Open Air Museum: it takes around one and a half hours to complete.
The walking tour is free of charge and everyone is welcome to join!