Tag Archives: Viking

today’s holiday: Tynwald Ceremony


Tynwald Ceremony

The Isle of Man, located off the coast of England in the Irish Sea, was once the property of the Vikings. It was here that they established their custom of holding an open-air court for the settling of disputes and the passing of laws. Today, the Tynwald Ceremony—whose name comes from the Norse Thing vollr, meaning a fenced open parliament—is held at St. John’s on Tynwald Hill on July 5, when the chief justice reads a brief summary of every bill that has been passed during the year—first in English, and then in Manx, the old language of the island. More… Discuss

TODAY’S HOLIDAY: UP-HELLY-AA


Up-Helly-Aa

This ancient fire festival is observed by people ofLerwick in the Shetland Islands. In pre-Christian times, their Norse ancestors welcomed the return of the sun god with Yule, a 24-day period of feasting, storytelling, and bonfires. The last night of the festival was called Up-Helly-Aa, or “End of the Holy Days.” Today, a group known as the Guizers builds a 31-foot model of a Viking longship in honor of the Viking invaders who remained in Scotland. On the night of Up-Helly-Aa, the Guizers dress in Norse costumes and carry the boat to an open field. There, they throw lit torches into the ship and burn it. More… Discuss

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L’Anse aux Meadows


L’Anse aux Meadows

Located on the northern tip of Newfoundland, Canada, L’Anse aux Meadows is the site of the first known European settlements in the New World. Norse settlers may have established as many as three settlements there near the end of the 10th century. After fighting each other, the settlers and the Inuit—whom the Norse called Skraeling—established a regular trade relationship, but the settlements were soon abandoned. What evidence indicates that the Norse settlers may have traveled farther south? More… Discuss