The Vikings were a race of sea-warriors from Scandinavia-Norway, Denmark, Sweden- who became well known to the world in the ninth and tenth centuries A.D. When they crossed the seas at frequent intervals in their splendid ships to carry out raids on the neighbouring countries.
Among the Vikings people married quite young. A boy might well be a famous warrior by the time he was eighteen, and able to marry and keep a good home. Girls married aq little younger, round about sixteen. It was usual for young people to drop a hint to their parents about when they would like to marry. Usually, the young man would persuade an aunt to call on the girl’s parents to ask if she would be free to marry him. If all seemed right, the heads of the two families would meet to discuss the whole business. They had to arrange what presents were to be exchanged between the framilies, and how many relatives on each side were to come to the wedding feast. A house and furniture had to be provided for the young couple. It was quite a business. But the girl always had the final word. She had the right to accept her future husband, or else to say she would have nothing to do with him. Her decision was the important thing. All the other arrangements depended on her chioce.
There were two sides to the marriage; the social arrangement between the families, and the personal marriage before the gods. Long before the days when the Vikings accepted Christianity, they exchanged wedding rings as a pledge of faith between them. They promised to live together in peace and to share all their goods. The husband was expected to defend his wife with his sword, the wife to spin cloth for her husband’s clothes from the wool on her distaff.
After the wedding there was great feasting and many guests came, bringing gifts of fine jewellery and clothing. The bride and the bridegroom, for the first time in their lives, sat on the high seats at the head of the table. They were expected to have kind words for everyone and see that their guests ate and drank all they could. They were not to eat or drink very much themselves. People watched all the time for lucky or unlucky signs, so that they would guess how the mattiage wolud go.But, since the bride and bridegroom were soon the only sober people at the party, they did not worry much. They were much more concerned to see that the guests were comfortably wrapped up where they slept on the benches around the hall.
After the wedding the young couple settled down to the hard everyday tasks of their farm.