Today is the first day of summer in Iceland, ancestral home of some of the ancestors of the humans of Seven Trees. As our climate changes, we learn to adapt and thrive, just like they did. April may not seem like summer, but our food plants and animals are just getting into full swing…
This April 19th, Seven Trees will be wishing everyone a Happy Harpa!
Our viking ancestors divided the year into two seasons, Náttleysi (“Nightless days”) and Skammdegi (“Short days”). Harpa (possibly a Scandinavian goddess) is the name of the first month of summer, roughly coinciding with mid-April to mid-May.
The holiday celebrated on this day has multiple names – Sumarsdag, Sumardagurinn fyrsti, and Sigrblot. Many summer-kickoff observances were all about fertility, invoking bountiful crops and productive livestock in the up-coming warm season. But Sigrblot (“victory sacrifice”) was intended to bring success and luck to warriors, since summer also heralded the onset of fighting/raiding season.
The Icelandic Club of Greater Seattle details some of the less-warlike traditions of Sumarsdag:
People also used to give summer gifts on the First Day of Summer in Iceland, four centuries before Christmas presents became a tradition, and the summer gift tradition is still practiced in some…
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