Midwinter: Miðsvetrarblót 17

The midwinter days - halfway between the first day of winter and the first day of summer in the old Norse calendar - call for the miðsvetrarblót.

People in the Nordic countries would celebrate and "drink Yule" long before Christianity was introduced, but the time of the feast was later moved to conform to the new religion as it entered the land and the laws of the countries.

In Saga Hákonar góða, Snorri Sturluson writes: "áðr var jólahald hafit hökunótt, þat var miðsvetrar nótt, ok haldin þriggja nátta jól" (meaning that "before, the Yule celebration would start with hökunótt, that is midwinter night, and was held for three nights").

The exact date of the Yule celebration in the Viking Age is unknown and disputed, but it has been argued that it was held around the first full moon after the first new moon after the winter solstice (and not at the winter solstice as commonly stated). According to this theory, Yule and Midwinter will be celebrated between January 5th and February 2nd., depending on the lunar phases, and thereby marking one of the quarters in the Norse calendar and the four main heathen feasts of the year.

I spent this weekend celebrating midwinter with a few good friends, in the snow-clad woods of beautiful Samdalen.

The temperature crept below -15°C, but we lit a fire and kept warm with sheepskins, mead and ale, salt-cured meat and sausages. We sat there and enjoyed ourselves for hours, under a the kind of starlit sky you only see when there are no streetlights around and you are surrounded by the darkness and solitude of the forest.

When we had used up all the fire-wood we had brought with us, and our hair and the men's beards had gone all white and frosty, we wandered back through the woods to the house, where we had warm moose stew while defrosting our toes and getting the feeling back in our fingers. I fell asleep listening to the others talking, and was woken up a few hours later only to be given a blanket and a pillow, and falling asleep again. What a lovely weekend!

Do you celebrate midwinter?

     Ingólfsson, G. Orðapistlar: Jól. Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í Íslenskum fræðum (online resource). Accessed on Jan 17th 2016
     Nordberg, A. (2006). Jul, disting och förkyrklig tideräkning – Kalendrar och kalendariska riter i det förkristna Norden. Uppsala: Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien för svensk folkkultur
     Sandal, J. J. (2001). Om kong Torre og torreblot før og nå. Heimskringla.no (electronic article). Accessed on Jan 17th 2016
     Snorri Sturluson. Saga Hákonar góða, Heimskringla
     Tulen - Norrøn Opplysningssentral (2014). Når feiret man jul i førkristen tid? (online resource). Accessed on Jan 17th 2016

Skuggsjá - Vitkispá

# Comments

Back to main page

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004


Design and content is the intellectual property of Valkyrja.com and is protected under the Norwegian Copyright Act and International copyright laws.
Contact: mail@valkyrja.com