St. Olav's Day 2019

Faroe Islands National Day of the Faroe Islands

Tore Hund, at right, spears Olaf at the battle of Stiklestad
The Death of Olaf at the battle of Stiklestad by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1859).

When is St. Olav's Day?

How long until St. Olav’s Eve?
This holiday next takes place in 65 Days.
Dates of National Rebellion Day
Year Weekday Date
2020 Wednesday
2019 Monday
2018 Sunday
2 Days
The afternoon before St. Olav's Day is a public holiday for most people

St. Olav's Day is a public holiday in the Faroe islands on 29 July.

Known as Ólavsøka, it is the National Day of the Faroe Islands and commemorates King Olav the Second who brought Christianity to the Islands.

St. Olav's Eve (Ólavsøkuaftan) is held on 28 July and is a public holiday in the afternoon for most people.

History of St. Olav's Day

Olaf II Haraldsson (Ólavur Halgi  in Faroese) was King of Norway from 1015 to 1028. Olaf died on 29 July 1030 in the battle at Stiklastað in Norway. There are many sagas about miracles performed by Olav and within a year of his death, he had been canonised as a saint.

Shortly after, Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim was built over his burial site. His sainthood brought many pilgrims to the Cathedral and encouraged the widespread adoption of the Christian religion across Norway, which the Faroe Islands were part of during the middle ages.

St. Olav became the patron saint of Norway and his feast day was a major festival in Norway up until the reformation. Though the anniversary of his death is still marked in Norway by religious services, it is in the Faroe Islands where the celebrations remain a popular summer festival.

How is St. Olav's Day Celebrated?

Ólavsøka means 'Saint Olav's Wake' and is a two-day celebration that begins in the evening of 28 July. Festivities includes parades, sports events, music, speeches, some drinking and dancing.

To bring some formality to the proceedings, for 900 years, Ólavsøka has marked the annual opening of the Faroese parliament (Løgtingið) after the summer holidays.

At the opening of Parliament the Prime Minister (Løgmaður) will make his annual speech to the Parliament and the Faroese Nation.

Ólavsøka ends at midnight on 29 July when crowds gather to sing Faroese folks songs and perform the traditional Faroese chain dance.

Góða Ólavsøku!

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