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Skálholt festival

The Skálholt Festival is celebrated annually, but the festival was first held in 1954. The festival is always held on the weekend closest to Þorláksmessa in the summer, which is July 20. Then you are invited to a party in Skálholt Church with religious ceremonies, traditional songs, concerts and information. Pilgrims go to the festival mass from Þingvellir and Reynivellir.

The program is high-quality and cultural, but it is led by the Consecration Bishop in Skálholt.

Skálholt festival will be held on the weekend of July 19 - 21, 2024

Skálholt festival program

The President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, and first lady Eliza Reid, will attend the Skálholt festival which will take place on the weekend of July 20 - 21. President Guðni will deliver a festive message in the festive program held after the festive mass and the church coffee. The main topic of the festival is to remember that 75 years have passed since the first Skálholtsfestival organized by the Skálholtsfélagið in 1949. That festival was held in the old parish church, which was taken down a few years later to make it possible to carry out one of the largest archaeological excavations that had been carried out in Skálholt.

The church had stored all the important artifacts and furnishings that partially went into the current cathedral.

The festival will look at the victories on the road to the restoration of Skálholtstaðar and at the same time look at the path taken since the very first Skálholtsfestival in the older tradition, ever since the bones of Þorlák the saint Þorhallsson were scrawled on July 20, 1198. On June 29 of the same year Bishop Páll Jónsson had declared he sanctified a man in Alþingi and promises were allowed in Þorlák.

Þorláksmessa in the summer, July 20, used to be one of the most festive holidays in Skálholt Foundation, and it has also been the case that Skálholt Festival is the biggest festival in Skálholt every year after the establishment of Skálholtsfélag and the restoration of the place.

The festival fair at Skálholt starts at 2 pm and after church coffee, the festival program in Skálholt Cathedral will be at 4 pm. Everyone is warmly welcome and we hope that the people of the church and other lovers of Skálholt will come and take part in this greatest event of the great sacred and historical place of the entire nation.

The history of the Skálholt Festival

Skálholt festival is traditionally held next to Þorláksmessa in the summer, on July 20. In centuries past, it was a great holiday ever since Þorlákur Þórhallsson was declared a holy man in Alþingi on that day in 1198. Then there were often large crowds at the place. The festival stopped for a few years. With the establishment of the Skálholtsfélagin in 1948, the festival was restored and first held in the old parish church in 1949.

Skálholt festival 1956

The first Skálholt Festival, which was held in Skálholt in July 1956, the 1000 year history of the establishment of the bishopric in Skálholt was celebrated. Around 7000 - 8000 people attended, including church leaders from around the world as well as Icelanders. There were tents all over the place, there were sales tents were people could buy meals. Plays that told the history of Skálholt were performed on the 900th anniversary of the bishop's chair. Church choirs from all over the country are gathered on the platform, and it was estimated that the choir consisted of around 350 people, but Páll Ísólfsson, the cathedral organist, conducted the choir.

The cornerstone of a new church in Skálholt was laid, and it can surely be said that there the respect of Skálholtstaðar began again.

Pilgrim walks

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