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I am looking for information about Viking feasts.

The only information I found, was about their food, what they ate and so on. But are there any sources of information about the typical schedule of a feast? What did they usually do apart from eating and drinking?

Did they have rituals? Did they speak about mythology?

Is the feasting presented in the Vikings Series an accurate representation?

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  • You may find this episode of the British History Podcast useful.
    – MCW
    May 29, 2017 at 13:12
  • Much quaffing... Oct 13, 2017 at 17:25

2 Answers 2

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Reading Beowulf would be a good starting point.

The proper definition on 'viking' is a bit tricky but Beowulf ( I recommend the Seamus Heaney translation) is certainly contemporary and set in the right region and has several reasonably detailed descriptions of feasts. Obviously it is fiction and needs to be treated with some caution as a historical source.

There are also various other sources such as the Icelandic Sagas which may be useful.

There is certainly plenty of evidence that the Nordic culture at this period had a strong oral element and as such that songs and poetry were very important.


A google search of 'Icelandic Sagas' will produce a fairly comprehensive list. again the caveat that these are romanticised poetry/fiction does apply but they are generally considered to be good sources for the period. Unless your Old Norse/Anglo Saxon is good you will need to find a translation but hard copies and e-books are widely available and not expensive.

Of particular note are the Eddas which actually make a good and surprisingly relatable read in their own right, indeed they are quoted a few times in Vikings.

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  • Thank you Chris, I will accept your answer, but could you please recommend any other Icelandic Saga you mentioned? I know that there is Poetic Edda, nothing more.
    – Thamiar
    Jun 1, 2017 at 6:33
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From what I understand, Viking Feast generally held for a variety of reasons including seasonal feasts such as Winter Nights and Jul, harvest festivals such as Mabon, religious rituals and for more personal reasons such as a wedding or a celebration of a successful raiding voyage.

There's no ritual on it but skalds, singers and poets would recite sagas and poems of the long history of the Viking people during the feast.

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  • @Chris Johns correct me if i'm wrong.
    – Fyodorov89
    May 30, 2017 at 6:33

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