Faroes in red

This picture I took at the National Museum of the Faroes, in Tórshavn, shows a late eighteenth century vignette illustrating a traditional faroese hunting of pilot whales.

Before our trip, I knew this tradition was still very alive, and proudly so for the strongly nationalist Faroese, but very controversial nowadays.

What we could never imagine was that we would be witnesses of it! And the scene was the same as the old vignette, with all the elements in identical perspective as we saw it from our car!

The killing itself (executed by the people on the opposite shore of the bay) was far enough that we could no see the details from our moving car, although the red splashes of the whales’ blood were truly shocking.

We crossed the bay by a bridge and approached. The whales were dead by then. It was shocking, absolutely, and very controversial. We had clashing discussions about it afterwards. Personally, I chose to focus on the social aspect of the event as a joyful comunal gathering (children, for instance, were having great fun, you can see!) and, in the broadest sense, part of the traditions and way of life of another people that we were not in a sound position to judge from our alien perspective…

Leave a Reply