Icelandic Language Blog

Sequins, confetti, our mayor in a pink dress… Posted by on Aug 12, 2012 in Icelandic culture, Icelandic customs

Yesterday was the annual Gay Pride Parade in Reykjavík and as you would guess it rained cats and dogs. As if that wasn’t bad enough it was windy as well, meaning that the rain was the typical horizontal Reykjavík rain against which you can’t really do much. Most people don’t usually even try to use umbrellas because they’re not really helping. Yesterday’s parade did see an exceptional amount of them though, alongside with multicoloured raincoats and capes, and especially the rainbow ones seemed very popular for some reason. Yet the majority of people were only wearing coats with hoods pulled up, woolen sweaters (made out of Icelandic wool they are very nearly rainproof) and in some cases they toughed it out in their original, sunny day -plan clothes. Having said this I do have to add that Icelanders seem very weather resistant as a people, and to name an example the wind and rain did not deter people from partaking yesterday in the slightest. Quite the opposite in fact. It looked like the whole population of Iceland poured in to downtown Reykjavík.

Let’s have a look at the parade!

There were two floats of pole dancers bravely doing acrobatics in the worst imaginable conditions you could imagine. Not only was it really cold for them, the rain made the poles slippery and I saw girls fall from them quite many times. Yet they kept getting back up again, drying the pole with towels in between and seemingly not caring too much that they sometimes landed on their heads. Now that’s what I call devotion to a sport.

It’s stuffy inside the closet.

The Faroe Islands had sent a representative who was very popular with the crowds. Faroe Islands is sadly famous for its gay unfriendly attitude, which caused a small scale political scandal some time back. The prime minister of Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, went to visit and a local politician, Jenis av Rana, made a huge fuss about not wanting to sit at the same table with her because sharing food would mean accepting gay marriage (Jóhanna is married to her wife). Oh Jenis, if it only were that easy!

The scouts.

The people of Hafnafjörður, hafnfirðingar. The sign could be translated as “You joyful Hafnarfjörður that looks toward the sun”. The dictionary says hýr can also be translated as gay.

Það er til fleiri en ein leið til að vera kona (= there are more ways than one to be a woman).

Vertu þú (= be you).

Pallabíll! Many cookies to the first one to guess how it should be pronounced! 😀 (I am of course attempting to make a lame pun about the term Pallaball that Páll Óskar often uses for his gigs.)

Páll Óskar himself! If you’re a Eurovision fan you may remember him representing Iceland there.  Here’s Allt fyrir ástina (= everything for love), the best introduction to both his music and style that I know of. In Iceland he’s more or less a national hero.

Greeting the fans on the third floor seats.

This float was sending up more confetti that I’ve ever seen before in my life. And water. You couldn’t tell which one was going to come when Páll started a countdown but at least everyone was either carrying and umbrella, wearing a rain coat or already soaking wet because of the rain.

This float was dedicated to showing support to the Russian band Pussy Riot.

But wait a minute. That tattoo on her arm – the Reykjavík city crest – haven’t I seen it somewhere before?


I’m not kidding. She’s actually our mayor, Mr Jón Gnarr. He has donned a skirt for political appearances before but somehow he still managed to totally fool me. I only realized in the evening and with the kind help of Facebook who it really was. The link goes to Besti flokkurinn‘s (= the best party) FB page and there he is, sitting behind his desk in full Pussy Riot gear.

At the final destination, Arnarhóll. I needed to tilt the camera to a rather artistic angle to simply fit in as much of that crowd as possible.

The people on board of that landing plane certainly had an interesting view.

All in all, despite the weather it was a wonderful day and a great party. See you all again next year at the Gay Pride!

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About the Author: hulda

Hi, I'm Hulda, originally Finnish but now living in the suburbs of Reykjavík. I'm here to help you in any way I can if you're considering learning Icelandic. Nice to meet you!