Dýrafjarðardagar was probably the third Icelandic word that I learned. Shortly after ‘kaffe’ (‘coffee’) and ‘jæja’ (a hundred different meanings but mostly ‘yes’). Although incredibly fun to pronounce, I do have to admit it is an odd word to be part of a very limited vocabulary.
However, if you consider the environmental factors at that time, the small village of Þingeyri in June, it might be not so strange after all. You see, Dýrafjarðardagar literally translates to ‘the day of Dýrafjörður’. The latter being one of the most beautiful fjords of Iceland and the mother of little Þingeyri.
It´s the day Dýrafjörður is celebrated, together with all its inhabitants. A weekend festival of togetherness and fjord-life.
I won’t elaborate on the program, especially since it won’t be organised this year (we all know why). But you can expect the whole shebang, games for children, concerts, sport competitions, barbecues and café parties. All of that surrounded by the mountains and salt water.
It’s a bit like the village’s facilities. For such a low population, they shouldn’t be inferior to larger cities.
However, in my experience, Dýrafjarðardagar isn’t really about the weekend program or the activities. It’s not even about the festival at all. Dýrafjarðardagar is about the anticipation. It’s about the memories and stories from last year and the year before that. About retelling that one story from a particular year. Dýrafjarðardagar is about the preparation. When the people from the village come together and plan. How they divide the work and help out where they can. It’s about how everything comes together. It’s about the Icelandic touch of procrastination and chaoticity.
Dýrafjarðardagar is about that nostalgic feeling, when so many people come home to Þingeyri. It’s about small family reunions all around. About people from neighbouring villages joining their friends and family. It’s about accidental tourists being confused by so much Icelandicness.
Dýrafjarðardagar is about a barn full of people wearing a lopapeysa and singing along with a cabaret band. It’s about the feeling of having ended up in one big family party. A family reunion where you can be completely yourself. Because everyone knows everyone so well, it’s doesn’t matter that you show your weird self.
Dýrafjarðardagar is about the community, the village people. It’s about sharing a beer with everyone in the bar at night. About hearing the people’s English language skills improve over the course of the hours. It’s about feeling included, about all it could be.
For me, Dýrafjarðardagar shows the energetic possibility of Þingeyri. It shows the ripple effect a little village at the end of the world can have.
Texti: Ellen Wild