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Faroe Islands: Ólavsøka – National Holiday Celebration in Tórshavn

by Sanne
Faroe Islands, Ólavsøka in Tórshavn

Yesterday, it was so foggy in the morning that we decided to stay indoors, but in the afternoon the weather changed to overcast and 15 degrees, which I was told was “amazing weather” by Faroese standards. We therefore went down to the harbor to see the boat race in traditional Faroese boats, which is one of the highlights during Ólavsøka (the Faroe Island’s national holiday). Rowing teams from all over Faroe Islands compete in different categories, and there are plenty of glory and honor at stake. The dock was packed with people cheering for their local teams and the atmosphere was amazing. Spontaneously, I decided to cheer for the turquoise team.

Poul was wearing his own national dress, and I borrowed one from Poul’s brother’s girlfriend. The Faroese national dress is handmade and consists of embroidered silk and wool, and an awful lot of pure silver buttons and details. They are very expensive and typically something you save up for, for many years. Some of the details, such as pins, buckles and buttons, are often passed down through generations.

Tórshavn really goes into party mode during Ólavsøka, and there are people in the streets from early morning to late evening. You can buy food and beer from small stalls and tents all over the city, but a lot of people also carry their own flask in an inside pocket, so they can offer friends and new acquaintances a drink when meeting in the narrow, cobbled streets.

Last night, we were invited to a party at Poul’s friends’ house. We had a really good time eating dried fish and drinking aquavit until 2am. Then people started getting ready to continue the party downtown, but I was really tired, so I went home to sleep instead.

My blog about the Faroe Islands

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