Einmánuður: A Time for New Beginnings and Traditions in Viking Culture

Einmánuður: A Time for New Beginnings and Traditions in Viking Culture

Einmánuður, the Old Norse word for January, was an important time for the Vikings as they celebrated the start of a new year and looked forward to the return of the sun after the long, dark winter months. In this blog post, we will explore some of the traditional activities and customs associated with Einmánuður in Viking culture.

Feasting and Drinking

Feasting was a common activity during Einmánuður, as it was seen as a time to celebrate the end of the winter solstice and the beginning of longer days. Large quantities of food and drink were consumed, including smoked and salted meat, fish, and ale. The Vikings also enjoyed playing drinking games, such as "toasting" or "skál" (raising a toast) to their gods and ancestors.

Hunting and Fishing

During Einmánuður, hunting and fishing were popular activities for the Vikings. They hunted for game, such as deer, elk, and boar, and fished for salmon and cod in the nearby rivers and seas. These activities provided a source of food and fur for clothing and helped the Vikings to survive the cold winter months.

Winter Sports

The Vikings also enjoyed participating in winter sports during Einmánuður. Skiing and ice skating were common activities, as were sledding and ice fishing. These activities helped the Vikings to stay active and fit during the winter months, and provided a source of entertainment and fun.

Religious Observances

Einmánuður was also an important time for religious observances in Viking culture. The Vikings believed that the gods were more accessible during this time, and would often offer sacrifices and hold religious ceremonies in their honor. The goddess Skaði, who was associated with the month of Einmánuður, was particularly venerated during this time.


Einmánuður was an important time for the Vikings, as they celebrated the return of the sun and looked forward to new beginnings. Feasting, hunting, winter sports, and religious observances were all common activities during this time, and helped the Vikings to survive the long, dark winter months. As we celebrate the start of a new year, let us remember the traditions and customs of our Viking ancestors during this important time of year.

Works Cited:

  • Hedenstierna-Jonson, Charlotte, et al. "A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics." American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 164, no. 4, 2017, pp. 853-860.
  • Price, Neil. The Viking World. Routledge, 2008.
  • Roesdahl, Else. The Vikings. Penguin Books, 1998.
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