Today is Whit Monday in the Western Christian calendar, and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries, including Iceland.
In Iceland the day is somewhat confusingly known as the Second of Whitsun—as yesterday was the big event, otherwise known as Pentecost.
As a public holiday cannot fall on a Sunday, the day after is a day off work and school.
Whitsun celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and other followers of Jesus Christ, and is sometimes known as the “birthday of the church”.
Whitsun, or Pentecost, always occurs seven weeks after Easter Sunday and marks the final end of the Easter season, which began on Shrove Tuesday.
Icelanders enjoy three public holidays each May, one in June and a five-day weekend over Easter.
In addition to this, there is one day off at the beginning of August and then a few more at Christmas and New Year.