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02 October 2012

Vikings at the Öland Harvest Festival

kalmstrom.com Business Solutions has its head office on Öland, an island off the Swedish south-eastern coast. On Öland we celebrate Sweden's biggest harvest festival each year, and this year one of the villages had a Viking theme.
Harvest festival Photo 1
Important Viking Era port
Köpingsvik is a small village with 600 inhabitants, situated just north of the town Borgholm and the kalmstrom.com head office. Nowadays it is most known for its wonderful beach and the camping sites near it, but it has not always been that way. During the Viking Era, when Nordic Vikings travelled trrough Europe and beyond as tradesmen or warriors, the village had an important port. At that time the name was Köping, and the port was a well known trading center for several hundred years.

Viking theme
The Harvest festival is celebrated all over the island, but in Köpingsvik the activities were more extensive than usual this time. Köpingsvik had been appointed "Öland village of the year", so the grand opening of the festival was held here. In remembrance of the glorious centuries around the year 1000, the villagers decided to give their contributions to the festival a Viking theme.
Harvest festival Photo 2
Viking ship
In the center of the festivities was a newly built replica of a Viking ship. When the festival opened last Thursday afternoon there was a parade of people in clothes similar to those worn during the Viking Era, and at the head of them came the ship drawn by a black and white horse.

Viking chief funeral
To wind up the festival and give the Viking theme a dignified prorogation, a mock funeral of a Viking chief was staged. Now the ship was used again, because it was launched to the sea and set on fire. In the old times this was how dead Viking chiefs were sent on their journey to Valhalla, where the men who died in combat could enjoy an eternal banquet.
Harvest festival Photo 3
Sigge and I of course took part in the festivities, but unfortunately we could not take any photos. Therefore I have borrowed images from two Facebook pages, Skördefesten i Köpingsvik and Klinta Camping. We say thank you to the photografers and to everyone else who made the Öland Harvest Festival a success!