Today, July 29, is Ólavsøka (Wake of Saint Olaf), the National Day of the Faroe Islands (Færøerne). It originally celebrated Saint Olav (alternative spellings include Olov, Olaf, Olof), the Norwegian King Olaf Haraldsson II (Ólavur Halgi in Faroese), who died at the Battle of Stiklestad, Norway, in 1030, almost a millennia ago. Today, it celebrates Fareose culture and community.
One of the main celebrations of the day is the official opening session of the Faroese Parliament (Løgtingið), which meets for the first time on this day each year. This year, the 33-member parliament met with some COVID-19 modifications, with members gathering without an audience. As part of the celebrations, the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands also made a video statement to mark the Faroese National Day. Together with the Althingi in Iceland, the Faroese Parliament claims to be the oldest running parliament in the world. The Parliament was first described in the Færeyinga saga, which also described the resistance of Fareoese leaders to Norwegian interference in the first part of the 11th century.
Like Greenland, the Faroe Islands is a self-governing community within the Kingdom of Denmark and has enjoyed home rule over its internal affairs since 1948. In 2005, its scope of power increased with the Assumption Act (Overtagelseloven), which meant that the local government could assume control over additional areas, such as the practice of law and property law. Foreign Affairs remain within the power of the Danish State. The Faroese people are represented by two seats in the Danish Parliament. The Danish Parliament also has a special committee on the Faroe Islands, the Faroe Islands Committee.
Status of COVID-19 Transmission
COVID-19 was officially declared eradicated from the Faroe Islands in early May, but on July 6, 2020, a new case was discovered in a traveler arriving from abroad. It was the first positive case since April 22, 2020. Currently, as of July 29, 2020, eight persons are quarantined and two persons hospitalized. Visitors must, at least until August 14, 2020, be tested for COVID-19 when arriving from abroad.
Online Legal Resources for the Faroe Islands
- Lógasavnið (database maintained by the Prime Minister’s Office)
- Official Faroese Law Gazette Portal (Kunngerðaportalurin Umsitin av Løgmansskrivstovuni)
- Global Legal Monitor: Faroe Islands
- Guide to Law Online: Faroe Islands
Góða Ólavsøku! (Good Olaf’s Wake!)