The official festival theme for 2013 has been announces as Vikings. This is acknowledging Henry Lawson’s fathers connection to Norway. Henry Lawson’s father was Niels Hertzberg Larsen, a Norwegian-born miner from Tromoy. Niels Larsen went to sea at 21 and arrived in Melbourne in 1855 to join the gold rush before eventually marrying and making his way to Grenfell where Henry Lawson was born in 1867. The Viking theme will be encouraged in all aspects of the festival including the procession floats and the window displays.
Vikings were seafaring people who raided, traded, explored, and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia, and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th centuries. There were two distinct classes of Viking ships: the longship and the knarr. The longship, intended for warfare and exploration, was designed for speed and agility, and were equipped with oars to complement the sail as well as navigate independently of the wind. The longship had a long narrow hull and shallow draft to facilitate landings and troop deployments in shallow water. The knarr was a dedicated merchant vessel designed to carry cargo. It was designed with a broader hull, deeper draft and limited number of oars used primarily to manoeuvre in harbors.
According to custom, during the Viking era all free men were required to own weapons and were permitted to carry them all the time. These weapons were indicative of a Viking’s social status: a wealthy Viking would have a complete ensemble of a helmet, shield, chainmail shirt, and sword. A typical free man was more likely to fight with a spear and shield, and most also carried a utility knife and side-arm. Bows were used in the opening stages of land battles and at sea, but they tended to be considered less “honourable” than a melee weapon. Vikings were relatively unusual for the time in their use of axes as a main battle weapon. In combat the Vikings are believed to have engaged in disordered style of frenetic, furious fighting.
The Viking could read and write using a non-standardized alphabet. While there are few remains of writing on paper from the Viking era, thousands of stones with inscriptions have been found where Vikings lived. They are usually in memory of the dead, though not necessarily placed at graves. Many engraved stones in Scandinavia record the names of participants in Viking expeditions. Other stones mention men who died on Viking expeditions.
The motives driving the Viking expansion are a topic of much debate in Nordic history. The penetration of Christianity into Scandinavia led to serious conflict dividing Norway for almost a century.
Hopefully this brief history on Viking has provided some food for thought and will help your organisation come up with ideas for a procession float.
This year Lachlan Fertilizer is leading the charge with their Viking themed float already in planning. Don’t let Lachlan Fertiliser collect the prize money without a challenge: start planning you float now!
For more information on the festival and for procession entry forms visit the website www.henrylawsonfestival南京夜网.au drop by the facebook page http://www.facebook南京夜网/grenfellfestival or call 6343 2855.
Did Henry’s Forebears wear hats with horns?
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.