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Icelandic festival returns to Gimli, Manitoba to showcase Viking culture after pandemic hiatus

Also known as Manitoba’s Iceland Festival Islending Adagrin — which means “Spirit of Iceland” — returns to Gimli this weekend after a pandemic hiatus for a glimpse into Iceland’s last thousand years of history.

Weekend festivities include fashion shows, music, Midway, Strongman competition, Viking battle reenactments, and Viking Village. At the Viking Village, expert reenactors demonstrate aspects of Viking daily life.

The festival celebrates Icelandic traditions. Althing, which means “things” or “all”.Ann Althing According to the festival’s website, the gathering was an annual gathering where people from far and wide gathered to take vows, recite laws, settle disputes, get married, and do business.

“It’s nice to hear my words here. I’m not used to it,” said Bruno Bento, who is from Iceland and attended the Strongman event.

Bent said it felt “great” to return to the festival to get together in person for the first time since 2019.

“I feel free here…I feel at home,” he said.

Hearing Icelandic spoken in Canada was a new experience, said Bruno Bent, who is from Iceland and attended the Strongman event. (Megan Goddard/Radio Canada)

Strongman event promoter Tony Vanderberg said the festival’s revival is an opportunity to reach new fans as more people want to explore closer to home due to pandemic restrictions.

The festival also allows Canadians to understand Icelandic culture, but it also celebrates Canadian heritage, with some striking similarities between the two.

“Struggling and trying to survive in the elements is also part of our story,” he said.

The Viking Longboat Pull was one of the festival’s strongman events that involved pulling a longboat (weighing about 12,000 pounds, or just over 5,400 kg) tethered to the back of a truck for 20 seconds in 75 seconds. . -5 meters, said Vanderburgh.

Strongman events were a way of reviving the traditional Viking raw power element, he said. said.

“Yes, you must be the strongest man, but you must also be thoughtful.

Nicholas Lind, a regular at the festival and of Norwegian descent, said the annual event is important for people of Icelandic and Scandinavian descent. (Megan Goddard/Radio Canada)

Nicholas Lind drove from central Alberta to Gimli for the festival’s third year after participating in 2017-2019. He was part of his Viking Village, which showcased traditional weapon displays, cooking tents, dragonfly making, spinning, and carpentry.

Lind, who is of Norwegian descent, said the festival is particularly important to people of Icelandic and Scandinavian heritage.

He said many people are interested in recreating the Viking age in the village, so it’s a good place to meet other people with the same heritage.

“We show them what they are doing. [ancestors] “Life could have been like this,” he said.

“We do our best to represent the village.”

Organizer Johanna Sodersson, who has been attending the festival for five years, said this year’s attendance was “amazing”.

The festival runs until Monday.