Ólavsøka is the biggest summer festival in the Faroe Islands, and by most Faroese considered as the national holiday of the Faroes along with the Flagday on 25 April. Ólavsøka is celebrated for several days, but the day itself is on July 29. It is the day when the Løgting, the Faroese Parliament, opens its session. Ólavsøka is a very veried stevna; a cultural and sports festival with boat races, football matches and other events. The 28 July, which is the day where the finals of the rowing competitions take place, is half working day for the members of some of the labour unions while Ólavsøkudagur (The Saint Olaf's Day) of 29 July is full holiday for most of the members of most of the unions, but not all of them.
The literal meaning is "Saint Olaf's Wake" (vigilia sancti Olavi in Latin), from Saint Olaf's death at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030 (see Olsok), but the Løgting predates this event. Like several other Faroese holidays, the vøka begins the evening before, so Ólavsøka always starts on July 28 with an opening ceremony. Some events start even before that; there has been a Ólavsøka Concert held on 27 July for several years.
Ólavsøka is the day of the year when many Faroese crowd into the capital Tórshavn. There the national rowing competition finals are held, which is one of the highlights in Faroese sports. In addition, there are art exhibitions, folk music, and Faroese chain dancing. The chain dance is for everyone; normally it is held in Sjónleikarhúsið, which is a theatre in Tórshavn.
The salute for Ólavsøka in Faroese is Góða Ólavsøku! (Good Olaf's Wake!).
The stamps shown on the right were issued by Postverk Føroya on 18 May 1998, and the artwork was produced by Edward Fuglø.