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Public Holidays in Iceland

  • New Years Day (01.01.) ​
  • Maundy Thursday​
  • Good Friday​
  • Easter Sunday ​
  • Easter Monday​
  • Ascension day (40 days after Easter)​
  • Whitsunday (50 days after Easter)​
  • Whit Monday​
  • First Day of Summer (the third Thursday in April)​
  • Labour Day (01.05) ​
  • Icelandic National Day (17.06)​
  • Tradesmen's Day (first Monday in August)​
  • Christmas Eve (24. 12) from noon ​
  • Christmas Day (25.12)​
  • Boxing Day (26. 12.) ​
  • New Year's Day (31.12) from noon ​

Other holidays:

  • With the large number of new inhabitants in Iceland – who come from all over the world – more holidays are introduced into Icelandic culture. ​
  • Although such days are not automatically public holidays, ​
  • it is natural to request (in advance) time off from work or school on major holidays. Note that such a leave will be unpaid or deducted from the summer holiday.

It is a good idea to set a reminder on your phone for all public holidays in Iceland – to prevent your children from accidentally going to school or you from going to work!

Other Important Days

  • Birthdays. Not all adults celebrate their birthday, although most celebrate major birthdays. It is customary to celebrate children’s birthdays by having a party for family and/or friends. ​
  • Baptism or Naming Ceremony. Many people have their children baptised in a church or at home by a priest. It is also common for people to hold a naming ceremony for their child without any religious connotations. It is obligatory to name a child and report the name to Registers Iceland before the child reaches the age of 6 months.
  • Confirmation. Children can get confirmed in the year of their fourteenth birthday. The confirmation establishes their willingness to remain a member of the National Church of Iceland. There are also civil confirmations without any links to religion.
  • Adolescents go through confirmation education where they learn about religion and moral values and discuss various aspects of life. ​
  • Confirmation parties are held, and the adolescents often receive money gifts from family and friends. ​
  • Confirmation, whether in church or a civil ceremony, is not obligatory in Iceland.
  • Wedding. Many couples get married each year in Iceland. You can get married in a church, with another religious organisation or at a District Commissioner’s office. ​
  • Same-sex couples can marry in Iceland and those marriages are as valid by law as other marriages. ​
  • Funeral. Around 2,000 Icelanders die each year. Church funerals are held for most of those who die. It is not obligatory to have a priest at a funeral. ​
  • There are two types of funerals: burials and cremation. In burials, the body is placed in a casket which is then buried in a graveyard. If the body is cremated, an urn containing the cremated remains is buried in a graveyard.

Religion in Iceland 

  • Iceland has freedom of religion. This means that all people can practice their faith without fear of persecution or punishment. It also means that everyone has the right to decide their religion for themselves, or not be a member of any religious organization. ​
  • The National Church of Iceland is the country’s biggest religious organization. The National Church of Iceland is part of the Lutheran-Evangelical tradition. The importance of religion in people’s lives varies, but the Church is important for many when it comes to ceremonies such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings and funerals, as well as the Christmas holidays. ​
  • There are many large and small religious communities in Iceland and society is generally tolerant towards people’s different religious and philosophical views. ​
  • Part of people's taxes goes to the religious organization where they are registered. The Icelandic State pays the salaries of priests in the National Church of Iceland. ​
  • The National Church has no influence on legislation, legal enforcement or execution of judgments in Iceland. ​


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