President's Message

Icelandic Festival of Manitoba President, 2020-2021

Jenna Boholij

Íslendingadagurinn is many things to many people, but at the heart, it’s the celebration of Icelandic culture and heritage. This year, despite the COVID-19 situation affecting the ability to host in-person events, Íslendingadagurinn will continue to celebrate and bring people together from across the street and around the world with the virtual/online 131st Festival – “Icelandic at Home / Heima er Best (Home is Best)”

Perseverance has been the underlying theme of this year’s festival, and 2020 has been a year to endure so far. But with challenges come opportunity.

This year has reminded us all of the value of our health and community – and to treasure our family and friends. It has encouraged us to be inclusive, to respect and celebrate different cultures, and to advocate for the changes needed to create a better society for everyone.

The Icelandic Festival was provided with the unique opportunity to reach and involve people around the world, like we have never done before. We’ve received heartfelt messages from people across the continent who are thrilled with the chance to “attend” the festival this year. 

As one of our Past Presidents, Glenn Sigurdson, wrote to us, “It’s a year to simplify, reflect, and recognize and honor our history.”

We’ve dusted off old photos, pulled out history books, and stripped the celebrations down to a series of videos and virtual events that we hope will connect people to the Icelandic community and culture in a meaningful way.

I want to sincerely thank everyone that made the virtual festival possible – from our volunteers, Board of Directors, Executive Director and staff, to our partners, sponsors, donors and supporters.

Our ties to Iceland remain as strong and deep as the ocean separating us, and despite the distance between us, we are closer than ever.

While this year’s Íslendingadagurinn might not look the same, I can tell you that it will still feel the same – because the true spirit of Festival can not be found exclusively in an amusement park ride, or a Viking battle, or fireworks over the harbour, but rather in all of those things and so much more.

You can also find it in an Icelandic flag waving in the wind, in a piece of vínarterta, a shot of Brennivín, and in a hug from your Amma.

And if you can find this spirit, you can celebrate Íslendingadagurinn – from your deck, your boat, your home, or anywhere you choose.