Yesterday there was blue sky and sun on the mountain peaks. I decided that I wanted to actually see the sun, so I got in my car and drove over the mountains to the southern end of Eysturoy, where the sun was shining. The Skálafjørður Bay is the longest fjørd in the Faroes, and it nearly splits the island of Eysturoy in half, running from south to north.
Christmas celebrations are just about over in the Faroe Islands. I celebrated Christmas Eve with Poul Jacob’ s family, Christmas Day with Gunnleyg’s family, and then Christmas night with her nephews, to whom I’m not really related, and then the second Christmas day I had dinner with Poul Jacob’s family.
There are some things that are pretty much the same about Christmas celebrations at home and here in the Faroes. For one, the children get quite a pile of gifts in both places. Also, there is enough food served to last a week, but everyone sits around the table eating until it is nearly gone. Then we have dessert. The after dinner nap is also an important part of the celebration.
Christmas seems to be a time for families to get together in the Faroes, and I was fortunate to be included in a number of family celebrations. I noted that the family from Germany who is living in my home in America for a year were included in Christmas celebrations with my relatives there.
My church at home has two special services on Christmas Eve, and they are both usually quite crowded, with people standing or sitting on the floor. In the Fuglafjørður church, the Christmas Eve service was absolutely packed, with chairs set up in an overflow room and around the front of the church. I think that may be the only time some people go to church. Then there were also two services on Christmas Day and one on the second Christmas Day. My church at home doesn’t normally have a church service on Christmas Day, but since Christmas was on Sunday, they just had the regular service. We don’t celebrate the second Christmas day in America. That is typically the day when everyone goes to the stores to exchange Christmas gifts, which isn’t much of a religious celebration.
It seems to me that many Faroese celebrations seem to last until the early hours of the following morning. I wonder if that is because families live closer together and don’t have to travel quite as far as we do in America. At home I would normally have a two or three hour drive home from my brother’s or my sister’s house, and the same from my late husband’s family’s home – and that is only if there isn’t a traffic jam or an accident blocking the highway.
One of the biggest differences in the celebrations is in the menu. Here we ate goose, duck, lamb (twice), pickled fish, shrimp, dried leg of lamb (skerpikjøt), half dried half rotten lamb (ræstkjøt), and lots of boiled potatoes. At home we often have turkey, ham, or roast beef – and sometimes even lamb, and the potatoes are mashed and served with gravy. What I miss most is the fresh vegetables, a large salad with twenty different kinds of vegetables and fruit.
I woke up this morning to blue skies and still bay waters. To be honest, I’m glad it isn’t a white Christmas, because I still find it difficult to get around in the white stuff, either on foot or by car. The sun and the still waters created interesting reflections of my mountains, so here are a few more pictures. I even climbed over the gate in my yard, to get down by the water.