Every first Sunday in August (August 2nd, 2020), a Viking invasion is recreated in Catoira town, north-western Spain. The historic Viking Landing took place over a thousand years ago; this is the main event of the Viking Festival of Catoira.
Festival of International Touristic Interest since the year 2002; nowadays it is one of the most famous Galician celebrations.
How the Viking Festival is celebrated
The night before to the Landing, a Viking Dinner is held close to the West Towers. Thousands of people dressed as Vikings or in medieval costumes gather to attend a meal with typical Galician products such as mussels, octopus or mutton. The ‘fiesta’ goes on with fireworks, music, and so on.
On Sunday, around 10 am, some pipers appear in the streets of Catoira leading festival-goers and participants to the Torres del Oeste Castle, where a medieval market is placed. Locals, as well as foreigners, dress this day as Vikings warriors and horned helmets are seen everywhere. At lunch time everyone is invited to mussels and wine of the region (Ulla wine).
Later on, it comes the Landing of the Vikings, the main attraction of this festival. Residents are the ones who can act as the invaders on the boats. They arrive on replicas of 11 th Century Viking vessels. Once on shore, a simulated battle takes place.
After the battle, the fiesta follows with folk music, ‘comida campestre’ (picnic) with local products such as octopus or roast and much much more.
During the whole week prior to the Viking Festival, shows and musical performances are held at night at the West Towers.
Origin of the festival
In 1961, a group of intellectuals from the area of the Ulla river decided to recreate the landing of King Ulfo “The Viking”. They were pursuing to revive the Galician culture and history, in spite of the Franco dictatorship restrictions. It was such a success that it was decided to repeat it annually.
My personal point of view
It was great fun, both at night during the Viking dinner as well as the party after the landing. However, the Viking Landing at the West Towers, meant to be the main event of this festival, was a little disappointing. I have been expecting a “bloodier” battle and it had nothing to do with this, hehe.
If you want to take part in the Viking Dinner, you should buy the ticket in advance, otherwise, they will run out.
You also have the opportunity to join with me in enjoying this festival. Contact me, in case you are interested.