Þjóðhátíð (pronounced as Thjoth-Houtith) is the National Festival of Iceland and, as the name indicates, one of the biggest festivals in the country. It takes place in Westman Islands every year on the first weekend of August.
Þjóðhátíð in Iceland is a three-day party, although it can go up to four days for the most hardcore party “lions”. But most of the people arrive on Friday instead of Thursday. It’s kind of like a music festival, since there’s music there, but it’s not really about the bands. Which is why I just call it a big party.
I made this handy list of the essentials you have to bring with you to Þjóðhátíð.
Most people by far stay in a tent for Þjóðhátíð. Some people rent houses but that’s expensive and they fill up fast. Plus the atmosphere at the camping area is divine, people set up camping circles and have a great time before heading to the Valley where the bands play.
Much needed! If you don’t bring a chair you will probably have to be the only one sitting in the wet grass, feeling like a fool. You will spend a lot of time in the camping chair, so invest in one that you feel comfortable in. An attached glass-holder will also come in handy.
This Festival relies on being drunk. Sad but true. It will get wet and cold and you have to stay awake for many hours to party so the wine will help you out there. Bring enough. Icelanders like to share their bottle of Tópas, an Icelandic type of shot so if you bring a bottle of that to share, you will win their hearts.
Guitar and Songbook
Icelanders love to sing when they have spiritus in their veins. There will always be that one guy with the guitar – you will score multiple cool points if you’re that person. Songbooks are essential so people can join you in the singing.
The famous woolen sweater from Iceland is called Lopapeysa and is extremely warm. It can also handle rain so it’s ideal for a festival like Þjóðhátíð. You can find it in the Álafoss shop in many colours and patterns. Almost every Icelander owns at least one of these woolen sweaters.
It’s almost definite that it will rain at least once the weekend of Þjóðhátíð, so do yourself a favour and bring rain gear, both pants and a jacket. It’s also good to have the pants on the second and the third day of the festival; the hill that you will be sitting on when listening to the bands will be covered in mud after the first night as the grass has been stamped on a lot! Plus, they’re super stylish and attractive!
Powerade is Icelanders’ go-to hangover drink. Buy two or three to take with you, then when you wake up you can grab it first thing, so you don’t have to run to the store with a headache.
It’s great and relaxing to go the swimming pool the morning after a crazy night. Soak in the hot tubs and gossip with the Icelanders about last night’s fiasco.
Have a great time at Þjóðhátíð, it won’t get any more Icelandic than this!