The Old Icelandic Calendar

Today’s date in the Old Icelandic Calendar:

The Old Icelandic Calendar is a unique calendar that was used as the civil calendar in Iceland from the 10th to the 18th century. It is a “leap week” solar calendar, which means that, instead of adding a day periodically to keep it in synchronisation with the seasons, an extra week is added. In most years there are 12 months of 30 days, and an extra four days in the middle of summer, called Sumarauki, giving a year of 364 days, i.e. exactly 52 weeks. In leap years an extra seven days are added to Sumarauki to make the year 53 weeks long.

Having an exact number of weeks in the year means that each year begins on the same day of the week. This is also true of the months as well as each month is always the same length. The year is divided into two “seasons”, summer and winter, with 6 months in each season. In 1700 the starting dates of each month were fixed to certain ranges in the Gregorian Calendar and if we start with the first month of summer, Harpa, this always begins on a Thursday between 19th and 25th April. The next month, Skerpla, always begins on a Saturday, and so on. The extra “leap week” is added to Sumarauki as required to keep the year starting on a date in this range, between the third and fourth months of summer.

The following table shows the arrangement of the months with the day of the week that each month starts and the starting dates in the Gregorian calendar for a range of years in the current period.

Month / *Year-> 2018-19† 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24† 2024-25
Harpa (Thu) 19 Apr 25 Apr 23 Apr 22 Apr 21 Apr 20 Apr 25 Apr
Skerpla (Sat) 19 May 25 May 23 May 22 May 21 May 20 May 25 May
Sólmánuðr (Mon) 18 Jun 24 Jun 22 Jun 21 Jun 20 Jun 19 Jun 24 Jun
Sumarauki (Wed) 18 Jul 24 Jul 22 Jul 21 Jul 20 Jul 19 Jul 24 Jul
Heyannir (Sun) 29 Jul 28 Jul 26 Jul 25 Jul 24 Jul 30 Jul 28 Jul
Tvímánuðr (Tue) 28 Aug 27 Aug 25 Aug 24 Aug 23 Aug 29 Aug 27 Aug
Haustmánuðr (Thu) 27 Sep 26 Sep 24 Sep 23 Sep 22 Sep 28 Sep 26 Sep
Gormánuðr (Sat) 27 Oct 26 Oct 24 Oct 23 Oct 22 Oct 28 Oct 26 Oct
Ýlir (Mon) 26 Nov 25 Nov 23 Nov 22 Nov 21 Nov 27 Nov 25 Nov
Mörsugr (Wed) 26 Dec 25 Dec 23 Dec 22 Dec 21 Dec 27 Dec 25 Dec
Þorri (Fri) 25 Jan 24 Jan 22 Jan 21 Jan 20 Jan 26 Jan 24 Jan
Góa (Sun) 24 Feb 23 Feb 21 Feb 20 Feb 19 Feb 25 Feb 23 Feb
Einmánuðr (Tue) 26 Mar 24 Mar 23 Mar 22 Mar 21 Mar 26 Mar 25 Mar

Leap year in Old Icelandic calendar.

There is no special numbering of the years used in the Icelandic calendar, so the year may be omitted or the current Gregorian year used.

Days of the Week

The days of the week in the Icelandic calendar are as shown in the table below.

– c. 1200 modern Icelandic English
sunnudagr sunnudagur Sunday
mánadagr mánudagur Monday
týrsdagr þriðjudagur Tuesday
óðinsdagr miðvikudagur Wednesday
þorsdagr fimmtudagur Thursday
frjádagr föstudagur Friday
laugardagr laugardagur Saturday

This description of the Icelandic Calendar is not comprehensive. A more detailed account of the structure, usage and history of the calendar can be found here.