Culture of the Faroe Islands

Culture Of The Faroe Islands

Culture of the Faroe Islands

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The culture of the Faroe Islands has its roots in the Nordic culture. The Faroe Islands were long isolated from the main cultural phases and movements that swept across parts of Europe. This means that they have maintained a great part of their traditional culture. The language spoken is Faroese. It is one of three insular Scandinavian languages descended from the Old Norse language spoken in Scandinavia in the Viking Age, the others being Icelandic and the extinct Norn, which is thought to have been mutually intelligible with Faroese. Until the 15th century, Faroese had a similar orthography to Icelandic and Norwegian, but after the Reformation 1538, the ruling Danes outlawed its use in schools, churches and official documents. This maintained a rich spoken tradition, but for 300 years the language was not written down. This means that all poems and stories were handed down orally. These works were split into the following divisions: sagnir (historical), ævintyr (stories) and kvæði (ballads), often set to music and the mediaeval chain dance. These were eventually written down in the 19th century.

Music and Chain Dance

Traditional Faroese music is primarily vocal, and is not accompanied by musical instruments. Only in Tórshavn instruments like fiddles were present in the older days. When trade grew in the 20th century the Faroese started to use imported musical instruments. Much of the imported music and instruments remained popular only in the capital and largest...
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