Saint Olav’s Day is celebrated every 29 July in the Faroe Islands. This is generally considered to be the national day of Faroe Islands, although the holiday is also celebrated in Norway.
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Note: St Olav’s Eve is a half day public holiday.
The “Saint Olav” of Saint Olav’s Day refers to King Olav II of Norway. He reigned in the early 1000’s and was the main leader who helped “Christianise” Viking-era Norway.
After King Olav was killed in the field of battle, defending Norway against a invading Danish army, he was quickly canonised as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. This was not done for his prowess in war, however, but because of his spreading of the Christian religion in Norway. For that, in fact, he was dubbed “Patron Saint of Norway”.
On 28 July, festivities begin on Saint Olav’s Eve, and they can continue for several days. A parade takes place on 29 July in Torshavn, along with many other events throughout the day. This is also the day when the Faroe Islands parliament officially begins its next session after the summer holidays.
On and around Saint Olav’s Day, there will be folk singing and dancing, concerts, and other cultural and patriotic events. Saint Olav’s Day is the highlight of the summer in the very cold land of Faroe Islands, and people look forward to it all year long. It’s celebrated with more gusto in Faroe Islands than even in Norway.