Today – 1 May – is May Day, a celebration of the seasons changing, especially in Celtic festivals like Beltane as well in modern times as International Workers’ Day, an occasion to celebrate workers’ rights, and International Day of the Icelandic Horse.
In Iceland, this seasonal tradition is slightly earlier: the First Day of Summer (sumardagurinn fyrsti) is an annual public holiday held on the first Thursday after 18 April. This year, the First Day of Summer was marked on 25 April 2019. The occasion is marked around the country with parades, outdoor entertainment (including sporting events and children’s games) and free access to museums and exhibitions. This custom derives from the nation’s former use of the Old Norse calendar, which divided the year into two seasons: winter and summer. Years were considered less important than seasons: people saw their age in terms of the number of winters they had lived.
Here at Jolabokaflod CIC, we are celebrating these First Days of Summer by promoting our current Book Bulletin catalogue, full of book recommendation ideas for taking on holiday over the next few months, and to highlight our crowdfunding campaign for you to get your book title suggestions into the Book Bulletin – along with information about you and any project or issue you would like to promote – at a starting contribution of £10.00.
We shall be active online over the summer publicising all things book-related of interest to readers and book-trade professions. We call this campaign Sumarbokaflod (Sumarbókaflóðið, the summer book flood) to both name-check the long-standing Jólabókaflóðið Christmas tradition and to remind everyone that books make for great gifts at any time of year, especially for taking on vacation during our summer breaks.