Have you ever been to a medieval market? Yes? Well, I hadn’t, this was going to be my very first one and I was very excited about it.
I started my journey an early morning in late July, driving past fjords where the sun was chasing the morning mist away, 1250 km to Trondheim, a city in the middle of Norway. All my stuff was packed in the back of the family car and I had a trailer. The plan was to pick up a drawloom in northwest Norway after the market, making the long journey even more worthwile.
The backdrop of the marked was great, It was located in the historical archbishop’s court and the spire of the dome was gleaming in the sun high above. The market is part of a festival called Olavsfestdagene. It has roots back to the middle ages and is in honor of St. Olav and the day of his death on July 29, 1030. King Olav II Haraldsson brought christianity to heathen Norway by sword and was therefore proclaimed a saint almost immediately after his death on the battlefield.
I shared a booth with my good friend Ingvild from Selbu spinning mill and her gorgeous yarns from old Norwegian sheep breeds. After several leakages with water flooding in over the desk, the market staff finally got made roof waterproof and market life started to feel good.
All exhibitors were required to wear clothing to fit the time period between 1000 and 1800 AC and were not allowed to use plastic wrapping, big advertising banners and other non-medieval items. We were proud to have a small exhibition of our friend Magnhild Rølvåg’s jewelry, which fitted beautifully in with our soft and woolen products.
With the medieval market in mind, I had woven Viking shawls with yarn from Ingvild’s mini-mill and with hand-spun, plant-dyed threads as adornment (the shawl to the left and the ones lying in front of me in the booth).
There was lots of medieval ambience at the market . Dried cod from the Lofoten islands, traditional pottery from Røros, woodworkers demonstrating their craft, gorgeous willow baskets by Lene Jacobsen, just to mention some.
There were knights, pilgrims, monks and tournaments and a medieval music band playing several times throughout the day. After four days of the easy listening version of Pachelbels Kanon on bagpipe I did feel ready for another music style, though.
There were lots and lots of visitors from all over the world. The festival is much more than just the medieval market, there are theater performances, lectures and above all, lots of concerts in different music genres, so a visit to the festival Olavsfestdagene is really worth while.
Have you ever been to a medieval or historic market? Tell me about your experience, I am curious!