In Summer 2016, I was able to return to the Faroe Islands, a small protectorate of Denmark in the middle of the North Atlantic, to follow up my previous project, Føroyar. Saint Olaf’s Wake is my latest series about Ólavsøka, the biggest summer festival in the Faroe Islands, and by most Faroese considered as the national holiday of the Faroe Islands.
Originally Ólavsøka was a memorial feast for the Norwegian King Olav the Holy, who brought Christianity to the Faroe Islands and is believed to be the champion of the national independence. Today, each year on 29 July the Faroese people take their national costumes and gather from far and near to fill the otherwise quiet streets of Tórshavn, the smallest capital in the world, to celebrate Ólavsøka and attendcultural and sports events like boat races, football matches, folk music shows and other events.
One of the highlights of Ólavsøka is the national rowing competition finals. The docks are packed with people cheering for their local rowing teams, who from all over Faroe Islands, compete in different categories, with plenty of glory and honor at stake.
Olavsoka is a traditional festival that cherishes unity and connectedness of everyone living on the same ground: no matter who you are and where you are, you can't miss the feeling of togetherness of the Faroese.