The Strength and Character
of Icelandic Women

This year the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba is paying tribute to the strength and character of Icelandic women which has been chronicled numerous times throughout the centuries. In accordance with this theme, our cover depicts a Valkyrie riding through the air, clad in her brilliant battle armour, as painted in oil on canvas by artist Peter Nicolai Arbo (Norway 1831-1892) in 1869.

The Valkyries, were warrior maidens who attended Odin, ruler of the gods. The Valkyries directed battles, distributed death lots among the warriors, and conducted the souls of slain heroes to Valhalla, the great hall of Odin. Their leader Freyja, also known as Valfreyja, was Norse the goddess of love, fertility, and beauty and is also identified as the goddess of battle and death which is arguably an indication of her strength and character. Blond, blue-eyed, and beautiful, Freyja traveled on a golden-bristled boar or in a chariot drawn by cats. Freyja possessed a magical cloak of falcon feathers that allowed her to take the shape of a falcon and take flight if she wished. She was bestowed responsibility for half of all the warriors slain in battle, the other half being received in Valhalla by Odin himself.

- by Tami Shirlie, (nee Jakobson)
Icelandic Festival President
Read her complete article.pdf

See also Linda Sigurdsson Collette's photos of "Strong Women" attending this year's Íslendingadagurinn.