The holiday of Winternights is also known as Vetrnaetr. This name is coming from old-Norse language where Vetr means winter and –naetr, the plural form from ‘natt’ means night.
Winternights is the Norse winter festival that was celebrated in pre-Christian Scandinavia at the end of October – beginning of November. Vetrnaetr is considered to be one of the three the most important celebrations. This holiday means the end of summer season, beginning of the winter and a new year. People did sacrifices to the Norse Gods in order to thank them for a successful year and growing season and ask them for a mild winter.
These sacrifices consisted of animals, usually pigs and horses. People put them in a large cooking pits over the hot stones and meat was boiled. At the same time our ancestors believed that blood has a special power. So that they sprinkled it over the walls, statues of the Gods, painted faces.
People gathered around the big cauldrons to have a dinner with Gods in this sacred day. They sang songs, read poems, drank mead and beer. The drin was blessed and people drank it all together. It was sacred act as all participants took a secret ties as they shared the drink.
The prayer for this day was “til árs ok friðar” – “for a good year and peace”. People asked for fertility, health, peace, good life and harmony.