Celebrations during the Saga Ages
numerous references to Yule celebrations in the Icelandic Sagas,
but they are very sparse in their description of how Yule was
celebrated in those times. No real contemporary accounts exist,
though a piece of verse considered to be from the Ninth Century
refers to the "drinking of Yule".
numerous other references to this "drinking of Yule",
for example in The Story of Hákon Háreksson, it is stated:
"He held three main feasts every year, Yule, middle of
winter and Easter".
In Egils saga Skallagrímssonar the Yule feast of Egil's friend
Arinbjörn hersir is detailed, and in The Saga of Grettir, two
farmers in Norway drink Yule together.
only thing that comes through clearly in the references to Yule in
the Saga era is that feasts, and drinking of Yule Ale were common
features. In Eyrbyggja saga the existence of a large amount of ale
just before Yule is a fact that seems to be too normal to require
explanation. In the Saga of Greenland, Eiríkur rauđi, Eric
the Red, was worried that he could not prepare for Yule as
well as he knew he should. But Ţorfinnur karlsefni, just back
from America, saved the day. He had carried with him malt for ale
Feasts were of course different in size and splendour, from the
chieftains inviting scores of people to Yule, to just the
residents of one farm "drinking Yule" together. In the
larger Yule feasts of the chieftains, guests received gifts upon
departure, and this departure was after feasting several days.
chieftains also wanted to decorate their houses for Yule, as can
be seen when farmer Ingjaldur, who did not like foreigners at all,
accepted decorative material from a Norwegian to use at his Yule
feast. The proud farmer, who detested foreign merchants, could not
resist having the best decorative materials available for his Yule
feast, even if the source was a foreign merchant.
no indications that any religious practices were connected to Yule
in the Saga era, but that proves nothing as the contemporary
references are lacking.