Time, seasons, and holidays » Midwinter
Midwinter is a Rjurik festival during the winter solstice. The annual celebration elicits great rejoicing, feasting, and drinking. A great part of the festival focuses on Vani and rituals encouraging her to return. Women have a central role in these festivals. One popular ceremony involves a recreation of a story from one version of Hervarar Saga. Álfhildr, the daughter of king Álf of Álfheim, was kidnapped by Starkad Aludreng while she was reddening a horgr with blood. While she was kidnapped, Álf wept and was inconsolable. Because of his bond to the land of Álfheim, his depression caused the land to wither. The hero Adils, a ranger of Erik, pursued the kidnappers and rescued Álfhildr, and Álf's rejoicing brought a rebirth of the land of Álfheim. Other sagas and tales tell of Erik's loneliness and suggest that if Vani doesn't return to him, Erik will forget his duties in his sadness and the Rjurik will perish under an endless winter.
In Stjordvik, the festival of Midwinter is also accompanied by the Kyndelsting, when the people gather at Sundsvaal. There is a great circular stone structure from the time shortly after Stjorndahl. It was built to receive a shaft of sunlight deep into its central chamber at dawn on winter solstice. The light illuminates a stone basin below intricate carvings -- spirals, eye shapes, solar discs. Admission to the circle is granted to winners of craft and other competitions at a great fair held on the site. Once the shaft of light is witnessed, a great feast is prepared. The feast is followed by dancing, singing, and other merriment. Outsiders who witness these festivities are often surprised at the wildness and mayhem of such events. They are even more surprised to discover the esteemed druids lead the way in these revelries.

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