Tullie Time Travellers: Viking Christmas
Today was our last Tullie Time Travellers session of the year, so we spent the afternoon learning about the Viking festival Yule and learning how to write in a Viking runic alphabet known as Futhark!
We started our session by having a look at the Viking objects on display in the Border Galleries and taking rubbings from the replicas of the Bewcastle Cross, to learn more about the Vikings in Cumbria.
Then after a quick trip to the badger sett (because no Tullie Time Traveller can resist a wander through the badger sett) we headed back down to the Community Room to learn more about the Vikings, the traditions of their winter festival that many people still follow at Christmas-time and pick up the basics of Futhark!
The group learned that the Vikings did not celebrate Christmas, as pagans they worshipped many gods, including Thor, Loki and Odin (other Marvel characters are available) but they did have a celebration at this time of year, celebrating the Winter Solstice. The festival of Yule lasted about two weeks, and people feasted and told stories (not unlike Christmas party season now!)
One of the Christmas traditions that may have had its origin in Viking times is that of the Yule Log, some historians think a log was burnt on the fire during Yuletide and people made wishes for the coming year. So the Tullie Time Travellers wrote their own wishes for the coming year on our very own Yule logs!
For those of you whose Futhark is a little rusty, the Tullie Time Travellers wished for all sorts in the next year, from I-pods to health and happiness to success in exams to gaining First Class Cadet! Thankfully we didn’t have to burn these logs – the chocolate type are much nicer to eat!
As well as the Yule log, we learnt about where the Vikings came from and what they traded for and what they traded with – by decoding a world map written in Viking runes. Did you know that the Vikings reached the Middle East, trading some of the furs and walrus ivory they had at home for silver, spices and even slaves?!
Finally our Vikings dressed up and throught about what they might have wished for on the Yule Log over 1000 years ago – our warriors wanted new swords and boats, whilst the ladies of the group prefered gold and necklaces and the sheep on the end, well he wanted more food!
Happy Yule from the Tullie Time Travellers and hope all your wishes for 2015 come true!