faroe islands 31

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A day full of singing, dancing and drinking, that for me is Ólavsøka, the national festival of the Faroe Islands.

It started in the morning with a ceremonial procession, a church service and the singing of a huge choir for the opening of the parliamentary session.

After this official part, the members of the choir moved towards the harbor to sing on while ships passed by.

It seems everybody has his own supply of liquor to keep them in a good mood the entire day.

The highlight is at midnight, when the central square is filled with thousands and thousands of people, who sing for an hour primeval songs. This almost unreal happening leads to an immense chain dance of all these people. From a little distance it is surreal to see and feels like being back in times long past.

In the Old Theatre the chain dances continue for hours. Old and young, rich and poor, in traditional clothes or in jeans, everybody dances hand in hand, without any distinction, singing together the ancient ballads.

Till the morning the streets are filled with happy people, talking, laughing, and drinking. I’ve never witnessed thousands of drunken people and no aggression at all. It’s an overwhelming experience.