How The Weather Affected the Vikings in Viking Age?

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How The Weather Affected the Vikings in Viking Age?

Back to the Viking Age, the weather was among the determining factors that decided what the life of the Vikings would be like. In other words, the Vikings were likely to depend a lot on the weather. Many scholars believed that it was the weather that shaped the Viking mindset of living, entertainment, and faith. 


The Scandinavian men back to the Viking Age pretty much relied on farming. Contradict to common belief, not all of the Vikings were the warriors who raided and pillaged all the time. Rather, the majority of them were farmers. It meant they worked on the farm and largely depended on the weather for the results of the crop. 

They relied on farming and their food mainly came from agriculture. As a result, if the crops were fruitless, the Viking experienced starvation. According to the historians, the Vikings would store part of their crop results for the upcoming winters If they failed to do so, they would have to live without food during the harsh weather. 

Viking daily life was not just about killing and pillaging

The Viking's life was not merely pillaging and killing. The majority of the Vikings were farmers and fishermen

Many of the Vikings also took the life of seafarers who did not always pillage and raid with ships. They used ships for fishing as well. Fish was another source of food that they could find not only in grains. Yet, the weather also affected the seafaring activities. Summer storms stopped the voyage movement of the Vikings while the sea-ice prevented the Vikings from moving back home and often made them overwinter around European land. 

Overall, the Vikings depended on the weather a lot for their living and survival. 


During the long winters, the Vikings had more time to spare as they didn't have to spend much time on the crops. It was believed that the most common game during this time was ice skating. The Vikings would compete with each other to take the prize. These prizes would be awarded to the winner to encourage competition and rivalry. 

An account by an archbishop told his witness of the Vikings ice skating. They attached to their soles of their feet a piece of flat iron or bones. And they would race across the lake with these bones. For the winter in Scandinavia was pretty cold, their lakes were likely to get frozen. This made skiing become more popular in these regions. 

Viking skiing was a favorite sport in the Viking Age

Back to the Viking time, they loved spending their time skiing in the winter

The Viking kids during the winters often built snow forts and practised warfare. After building the fort, they would be engaged in snowball fights which would grant the brave and talented children with prizes. Those who didn't perform wall had no prize and those who showed fear and shyness would be left behind. 


When the scientific knowledge of the Vikings was zero, they tried to explain natural phenomena with their own faith. This reasoned why Norse Pantheon had many gods each of whom embodied different values. For example, whatever happened around them, they would see it the signs of gods. Trying to explain nature with faith helped the Vikings in gaining the upper hand with things around them. 

On voyages, the Vikings often prayed for Njord, Aegir, or Ran for their safety. Njord was the Vanir god of seafaring while Aegir and Ran were the giant couple ruling over the ocean. According to sagas, if anyone failed to make Aegir and especially Ran happy, they would make the ship drown and Ran would collect the seafarers with her net, meaning they got drowned. To cheer the couple up, they would have to make a lot of sacrifice to the lake and river. This explained why many of the Viking artifacts were retrieved from the ocean. 

God Freyr was the Summer God in Norse mythology

Freyr was the God of Summer and Fertility in the Viking belief. The Vikings often grew their crops during summer. So if the summer was not harsh, they would have a fruitful crop which meant fertile. 

Gods like Odin the Allfather or Freyr were often evoked by the Vikings. Freyr was the god of fertility and summer so the Vikings often worshipped him to endow them with good weather which promised fruitful crops.

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