On the first Sunday of June, Iceland celebrates Seafarers Day ( Sjómannadagurinn ). But if this Sunday is Pentecost, then the celebration is postponed for a week.
Fishing has always been of great importance for Iceland, through whose sea possessions the paths of high-quality cod, haddock, flounder and seed. Icelanders joke that the only war their country has ever gotten into is the so-called — cod war « when Icelandic patrol boats cut networks of foreign fishing trawlers. However, the total mass of seafarers compared to the rest of the population sitting on their shoulders is extremely small — only 2-3%.
Nevertheless, the minority so important for the country was honored by — all fishermen, as well as other kind of sailors, were given a special holiday. Despite the enormous role of navigation in the economy, as well as in the history of Iceland ( as you know, without the plowing sea of the Vikings, the island itself would not have been discovered and settled ), the decision on a special day came very late, and only in 1937 did the state support the petition of the Icelandic Maritime Association.
On this day, medals and diplomas are issued to the best sailors who have distinguished themselves by heroic exploits or super-large catches, and dinner parties with magnificent speeches of gratitude are held in honor of the sailors.
After formal receptions, the heroes of the day indulge in more reckless fun at the Maritime Festival: they conduct races on sailing ships, compete in the swimming and skill of saving the drowning, they play military battles on land and at sea and do other things « marine ».
The gifts of the sea — fish, whale meat and shrimp, perfectly combined with beer, sincere sea talk and songs, invariably accompany the holiday.