Torshavn, Faroe Islands

Ólavsøka 2017

Forrest Mallard

Ólavsøka — Day 2 The second and more festive day of the Faroese national holiday started off with quite a bit of rain, and I worried that this would put a damper on the number of people that would come out to celebrate. But a little rain has never stopped anything in the Faroes.

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Ólavsøka – Faroese National Holiday

I enjoy so much just walking the streets of Torshavn, saying hello to the few people that I know, and taking photos of random strangers who have all dressed up so smartly in Faroese national costumes. When I get tired or lonely, I just make my way to the main stage in the middle of the town square, where my friend Ólavur is stage managing. There, sit for a bit and share my rum and coke flask and make new friends.

Making New Friends is Easy

Half-way through the evening, I ran into a man that I had met at a house party the day before named Ludvík. He invited me to go to one house party after another with him, and during this process, I met his very fabulous sister Sissal. We all got along exceptionally well. Very quickly, it seemed, it was 11:30 pm and people were leaving the party to head downtown for the singing and traditional chain dancing at midnight.

I didn’t want to leave this group of people that I had been having so much fun with, and from the backyard BBQ where we all sat, we could hear the 20,000 people singing in the town center.

There was one more house party to go to before I qhosted and walked back to my house. This last party was filled with so many singers and musicians I had seen previously on stage at G! Fest, on YouTube, and at other random concerts in the Faroes. I was just drunk enough that I was able to have some animated conversations with some of the more famous local artists whom I really admired.

Pretty much everyone at the party was quite drunk as well, which led to my favorite conversation with one guy who introduced himself by telling me “You’re weird. Why are you dressed like that?” (A reference to my cargo shorts, with black wool leggings and hiking boots.) After explaining that I go hiking for 4 months straight, and how I had a lack of luggage space for proper clothing for the Faroes, I could tell he kind of understood my bad fashion choices. Eventually, the conversation shifted from how weird I am, to music and other aspects of Faroese culture.

At 3 am, Ludvík told me he was heading downtown and I was again going to follow him, but by the time I had the chance to say goodbye to everyone at the party, he had disappeared, blending in with the other staggering shadows that were wondering the dark streets of Torshavn on the last night of Ólavsøka. Maybe we’ll meet again next year. 🙂

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