Community traditions – The Fishermen’s day
On the first Sunday of June, Iceland celebrates the fishermen’s day. This tradition started in Reykjavik and Isafjörður (in the Westfjords ) in 1938. The fishermen’s day is a very special day, dedicated to sharing the history and culture of Icelandic Fishermen. Back in the old days, without the modern safety measures and conveniences of today, being a fisherman was a risky business. Injuries and incidents happened, either due to accidents or unforeseen events – such as difficult weather or a lack of safety measures. However, on the fishermen’s day, all the ships would stay in land, and a special mass was held in churches around the country to pray for the safety of the fishermen and to remember all those precious lives lost to the ocean. To honour the people who dedicated their lives to work at sea, festivities were held all around the country on The Fishermen’s day - or Sjómannadagurinn in Icelandic.
One village that takes this day particularly to heart and is serious about celebrating it is the fjord village of Patreksfjörður, a small town in the Westfjords with approximately 650 inhabitants. Here, Sjómannadagur is celebrated for an entire week, with fun activities bringing the entire community together, as well as people from around the country. It’s a great time to learn about the craft of seamanship and get a taste of what it means to be a fisherman.