The Vikings had a feasting culture. They would often get together for grand festivals, which were also used as a mechanism for social cohesion.
Modern Viking festivals are more about fun. Get dressed up, shop Nordic wares, and maybe participate in a battle re-enactment. They are also fantastic opportunities to get together with other Viking enthusiasts in person.
Hundreds of Viking festivals happen each year, principally in Scandinavia and the United States. While some have been canceled for 2023 due to social distancing restrictions, there are still scores to choose from.
Let’s talk about the role of feasts and festivals in Viking society, and go through our list of the best Viking festivals still slated for 2023.
Viking Feasting Culture
If you read any Viking sagas or stories you will have heard about Viking feasts. It was very common for all the Vikings within a community to come together and feast in the house of their leader. This would only happen at certain times of the year, for major festivals, or in response to important events, perhaps the marriage or death of a king.
This was a time when Vikings living on far-flung farms came together, so a lot of business, and social business, happened during these festivals. Merchants might decide to pool their resources for a trading mission, and, of course, marriage alliances were made. This is also when the leader would confer with his warriors about upcoming raids.
It was the obligation of the leader to put on a good show for his warriors as part of maintaining their position. Generosity was vital for securing the loyalty and friendship of their warriors.
Viking Festivals 2023/2024
Sadly, many of the fantastic Viking festivals that groups put a lot of effort into organizing and maintaining on an annual basis won’t be happening in 2023. Hopefully, they will be back once social distancing rules have been lifted.
But there are still scores of events that are happening, both in the Viking homelands in northern Europe and in the United States and Canada.
Below you will find two lists of upcoming events in 2023, as well as some that have been confirmed for 2023. The first is for festivals in Europe and the second for America.
If you are looking to make a Viking connection, hopefully, you will find one that you can make it along to.
Festivals usually include:
- Viking markets selling handmade goods made using traditional Viking methods;
- Scandinavian and Viking food, including Medieval style mead;
- Wearing traditional Viking clothing;
- Battle re-enactments, either for show or you may be able to participate;
- Weapons workshops;
- Live music.
They can be just one day or a full weekend lineup of activities and shows.
We have only provided outline information for each of the events listed, so click on the link to find out more.
Upcoming Viking Festivals in Europe
May 2023 – Ribe International Viking Market, Ribe, Denmark – Historic site with Viking market.
May 2023 – Wikingermarkt Jork, Hamburg, Germany – Viking village, Nordic market, battle re-enactments.
June 2023 – Avaldnes Viking Festival, Karmoy, Norway – Historic site, Viking village, battle re-enactments, Nordic market.
June 2023 – Bjorgvin Marknad, Bergen, Norway – Live music, storytelling, arts and crafts, market, food, horse riding.
June 2023 – Hafnarfjordur Viking Festival, Hafnarfjordur, Iceland – Viking market, roast lamb feast, fights, dance, living re-enactments.
June 2023 – Trondheim Viking Market, Trondheim, Norway – Viking village, market, activities, weapons, and rituals.
June 2023 – Viking Market at Foteviken, Malmo, Sweden – Market, battle re-enactments, Viking games.
July 2023 – Trelleborg Viking Festival, Trelleborg, Denmark – Museum, camping, artisans, workshops, blacksmiths, food, re-enactments.
July 2023 – Jelling Viking Market, Jelling, Denmark – Viking village, market, historic sites.
July 2023 – Ingolfshatid, Reykjavik, Iceland – Viking village, re-enactments, camping, market, food and drink.
July 2023 – Stallarholmens Viking Festival, Sweden – Tradesmen and craftsmen, competitions and games, Viking ships.
July 2023 – Sarpsborg International Viking Festival, Landeparken, Norway – Viking market, workshops, re-enactments.
July 2023 – Festival of Slavs and Vikings, Wolin, Poland – Battle simulations, Viking style, traditional weapons, exhibitions.
July 2023 – Hornbore Ting, Hamburgsund, Sweden – Viking market, Viking boats, battle re-enactments, blacksmiths.
August 2023 – Lunden Vikingmarked, Naes Jernverkmuseum, Norway – Viking village, market, re-enactments.
August 2023 – Largs Viking Festival, Largs, Scotland – Viking village, craft fayre, owl magic, labyrinth.
September 2023 – Vikingr, Neustadt Glewe, Germany – Participatory Viking battle re-enactments.
January 2023 – Up Helly Aa, Lerwick, Shetland Islands – Galley exhibition, battle re-enactments, Viking market.
February 2023 – Jorvik Viking Festival – York, England – Battle re-enactments, Viking market, weapon demonstrations.
April 2023 – Haithabu Spring Viking Market, Busdorf, Germany – Artisan workshops and markets.
May 2023 – Vikingting, Tingvatn, Norway – Artists, workshops, Viking village, re-enactments, museum, historic site.
Upcoming Viking Festivals in the United States and Canada
May 2023 – Ohio Viking Festival, Cortland, Ohio – Viking village, markets, and music, and of course, medieval mead.
August 2023 – Icelandic Festival of Manitoba, Gimli Manitoba Canada – Battle re-enactments, sports and games, Nordic food, Viking market, live music.
August 2023 – The Deuce Icelandic Heritage Celebration, North Dakota – Battle re-enactments, live music, food, and fireworks.
August 2023 – Crow Wing Viking Festival, Brainerd, Minnesota – Medieval fair, Viking market, archery, games, and blacksmiths.
October 2023 – Runestone Festival – Heavener, Oklahoma – Viking and Steampunk festival with live music, axe throwing, traditional blacksmithing, and much more.
November 2023 – VikingsCon, La Plata, Maryland – Actors and authors, blacksmiths and makers, live shows, Viking village.
December 2023 – Texas Viking Festival, Valkyrie Ranch, Texas – Battle re-enactments and traditional Viking food and drinks from the producers of Thorin’s Mead.
January 2023 – Ullr Fest, Breckenridge, Colorado – Skiing fanatics celebrate Ullr, the Viking god of snow and skis.
January 2023 – Florida Viking Festival, Petersburg, Florida – Viking art, weapons, games, food, mead, beer and cider.
April 2023 – Viking Fest, Whitestown Indiana – Battle re-enactments and traditional weapon demonstrations.
April 2023 – Return of the Sun, Ravensborg Viking Longfort, Missouri – Traditional Viking feast, battle re-enactments, weapons classes, and Viking auction.
May 2023 – Manassas Viking Festival, Virginia – Re-enactments, music, vendors, and food.
June 2023 – Midwest Viking Festival and Scandinavian Hjemkomst, Minnesota – Viking village and Nordic marketplace.
September 2023 – Vista Viking Festival, California – Viking village, Nordic marketplace, battle re-enactments, weapons range, food, and drink.
September 2023 – Norsk Hostflest, Minot, North Dakota – Scandinavian market, Viking village, Nordic kitchen, Lefse Masters competition.
Viking Fest Minnesota – We focus on four annual events to celebrate the traditional heathen quarters. We aim to include everyone interested in Norse culture whether that interest comes from ancestry, video games, reenactment, cosplay, religion, art, or anything else. Currently, we host adults-only events. The next event is Old Viking Jól, which features a feast, games, saunas, a mead hall, raging fires, and more.