Háleyg

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This weekend was spent back in Lofoten with the Háleyg vikings, and it was by far the best viking adventure I have ever had the pleasure to be part of! This was not a market, but a moot where all the vikings of Northern Norway gathered for a weekend of crafting, socializing and planning the upcoming market this summer.

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We were lucky enough to be invited to live in the Lofotr Longhouse, a courtesy by the Lofoten vikings, and the viking museum who lent us their longhouse for the weekend. It is a recreation of the biggest longhouse ever discovered, and had no trouble housing vikings from six viking groups, as well as the museum vikings and a bunch of tourists during the day! Usually the museum only have their staff keep the longhouse alive, but this Saturday there were vikings all over the place. In the very beginning, on Friday evening, the longhouse did feel like a museum but by the time we left Sunday around noon, it felt like a home. Waking up in the longhouse, surrounded by other vikings is a feeling that cannot be described unless you have felt it yourself. Unlike a market, we are all in the same hall, still half asleep with bed-hair and only half-dressed. And that is one thing I love about the viking life! You do not need to hide behind make-up and fancy hairdos. You only need to be yourself!

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I met some new vikings, talked with those I met last summer, and I got to see vikings that was once part of our own group but has since moved away. There is no setting that feels more natural to me than this, and when comparing this small moot to any market I have been on, I must say I prefer the moot. Sure, markets are amazing but this did not focus on selling and buying, but the people and the crafts. On the Saturday, there were tourists at the museum, both during the day and the feast in the evening, and I could tell that they were all intrigued by us. I work with tourists on a daily basis, but this was something completely different than what I am used to. This time we were part of the attraction, and we helped set the mood of the museum. Of course, it is a bit weird to just sit there and talk while knowing there are a bunch of tourists around you snapping pictures of you, but I soon found that I didn’t really mind. And besides, if I was a tourist visiting this weekend, I would be overwhelmed and probably take a lot more pictures than I already have.

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There was a feast on the Saturday evening and I must confess I was skeptical to it after the one we attended last summer. The vikings who chose to attend would dine with a group of tourists, and I decided not to pay too much attention to the play, since this time it was actually meant for the tourists. I have never been more positively surprised in my whole life. The “play” was different from the one we had last summer, with different actors and story. It felt a lot more real, the Blot was magical, both because of the way it was preformed, but also because all the vikings on the benches joined in the chanting. I could feel goosebumps on my skin, and a sense of expectation around the whole thing. It also became clear that the tourists were enjoying it as well, especially when one of our own vikings decided to steal the whole show and engage in the play. The rest of us joined in the song, and the dancing at the end, and it was by far the best feast I have ever attended. I’ve reflected over why for a while, and it came to me that a huge part of it was because the Lofoten chief was a lot more humble this time around. He did not command our respect, he simply earned it by giving a good performance.

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Photo by Helga Vara

There were a couple of classes to attend as well, and I chose to make my own shield. I have yet to learn how to use a shield and sword, so for now it will only serve as wall decoration. But still, it is one I have made (with a lot of help) and I know it will serve me better than any I might have bought. It was fun to try something new, but I think I will stick to fabrics and leather for my crafts.

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Overall, it was an amazing weekend spent with great people, and I have had so much fun! After many long and boring months, I finally got to spend a couple of days in the setting I love most, and surround myself with my own people. I really appreciate this community, because it has changed my life and taught me so much! I know best who I am when I’m with the other vikings. It is such an understanding and including community where all are equals.

Last but not least, I have a short video from the moot that I wish to share. So for those of you who still want a better look into the viking life, here is a taste on what it is all really about.

So thank you all for a wonderful weekend!

May we meet again this summer.

More pictures from Háleygtreff can be found here!

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