Author Topic: Marriage of Vikings - Norse Traditions  (Read 10 times)


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Marriage of Vikings - Norse Traditions
« on: September 21, 2017, 12:40:25 am »
Viking Brides Stored Their Symbolic Virginity and Washed Away Their Maidenhood
In the lead up to the wedding, Norse brides and grooms were separated so they could strip away their former selves before entering their new lives together. For the bride, this meant being stripped of old clothing and any symbols of her unwed status, such as her kransen, a gilt circlet worn by Scandinavian girls. The kransen, symbolic of virginity, among other things, would be stored for the bride’s future daughter. During the wedding ceremony, the kransen was replaced with a bridal crown.

During her sequestration, the bride cleansed herself in a bathhouse. Hot stones were placed in the tub to produce steam, and women often switched themselves with birch twigs to induce perspiration, which symbolically washed away a bride’s maiden status away. Once the bath was finished, the bride plunged into cold water, to close the pores and end the cleansing process.

Throughout these preparations, women were attended by their mother, married sisters, and other married female relatives and friends.

Women Didn't Wear Ornate Gowns, Placing Emphasis Instead on Their Hair
The final at of pre-wedding preparation for a Viking bride was dressing for the ceremony. Viking brides didn't wear elaborate costumes or gowns. Rather, the ornamental focus was on her hair and crown. A woman's hair was very important in Viking culture, and indicative of her sexual allure. The longer, the better.

As a replacement for the kransen, brides wore a bridal-crown, which was typically a family heirloom. These crowns were usually made of silver adorned with rock-crystals and elaborate designs such as crosses and clover leaves, and draped with red and green garland silk cords. Some bridal-crowns still used in the present day are beautifully woven from straw and wheat, then garlanded with flowers.

Viking Grooms Underwent a Symbolic Death and Rebirth in a Sword Ceremony
Like Viking brides, grooms underwent symbolic rituals before entering their new lives as married men. His attendants would be his father, married brothers and other married male friends. In order to rid themselves of bachelor hood and destroy all vestiges of the unmarried self, Viking men participated in a symbolic sword ceremony.

The ceremony entailed a groom-to-be breaking into a grave in order to retrieve the sword of an ancestor, which was placed there by his attendants. In order to obtain the sword, the groom had to enter the grave, and emerge with the sword. Through this action, he entered death as a boy and emerged into a life a man, reborn, but the same.

Once the groom had his sword, he, like his bride, went to a bath house to symbolically wash away his bachelor status and purify himself for the wedding ceremony. During his cleansing, he’d gain insight and  instruction on husbandly and fatherly duties from his attendants.

Men Didn't Wear Any Particular Wedding Garment, But Carried Symbolic Weapons
After completing the bathing ritual, the groom dressed for the wedding. Like the bride, a Viking room had on particular costume or ornate garment he was required to wear. He did, however, bear his newly-acquired sword during the ceremony, and may have also carried a symbol of Thor, such as a hammer or an axe. Such a weapon was symbolic of his mastery in the union, and was believed to ensure a fruitful marriage.

Sacrifice a Goat
Once the premarital rituals were finished the ceremony began. The exchange of dowry and mundr (bride-price) before witnesses would happen immediately, followed by the religious ceremony, which began by summoning the attention of the gods and goddesses, a process that may have involved a sacrifice and incantation. If a sacrifice was necessary, Vikings used animals associated with gods of fertility. For Thórr, a goat. Freyja a sow. For Freyr, a boar or horse.

The animal’s blood was collected in a bowl and placed on an altar. A bundle of fir-twigs was dipped in the blood, which was used to sprinkle the couple, confering the blessings of the gods. In some cases, animals were dedicated as living gifts; such animal were considered sacred.

Rings yes, But Vikings Also Exchanged Swords
During a Viking wedding, the groom presented his ancestoral sword to his bride, which she kept for any future sons they might have. The bride then gifted the groom a sword of her aoncestors, symbolizing a transfer of a father’s protection of a bride to the husband. This gift exchange symbolized sacred union, sanctified by mystic rites. The bride and groom then exchanged rings to further consecrated their wedding vows, offering rings to one another on the hilt of their new swords.

Between the Ceremony and Feast There Was a Race, and the Groom Stabbed the Ceiling
The bridal and groom parties moved from the ceremony to the feast in a ritual called bruð-hlaup, or bride-running.
In the Pagan days, parties raced to the feast, and whichever lost the race served beer to the winners for the night.
the groom arrived at the location of the feast, and blocked the door to prevent the bride from entering without his assistance. Once she arrived, the groom helped her cross the threshold without tripping, completing her symbolic journey from maidenhood to marriage, with the assistance of her husband. Once in the feast hall, the groom buried his sword in the ceiling. The depth to which the sword sunk symbolized the enduring nature of the union.

Thor's Manhood Ended Up in the Bride's Lap
At the feast, a simulacrum of Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, was placed in the bride’s lap as she asked for Thor’s blessing. The placement of a symbol of Thor's manhood in between a new bride's womb and genitals was highly symbolic (insert hammer pun here). Elsewhere in the Norse cannon, the goddess Vár was said to witness a couple's vows and perhaps watch over the feast, and Freyr and Freyja were also often called upon in matters of love and marriage.

Getting Drunk on Bridal-Ale Was Mandatory
It was a legal requirement for bride and groom to drink bridal-ale together at their post-wedding feast. Their union was only binding once they did so. The ale was usually honey-based mead, and the wedding could only go forward if the couple had enough of it to last a month; it had to be drunk throughout their honeymoon.

The first serving was presented to the groom by his wife in a vessel like the Swedish kåsa, known as a "loving-cup." The bride might recite a formal verse while presenting the ale. Before drinking it, the groom consecrated the ale to Thórr by making the sign of a hammer over it, and toast to Óðinn. He then sipped and passed the cup to his bride, who made a toast to Freyja before drinking.

At Least Six Witnesses Walked the Couple to Bed So They Could Bone
The final wedding night ritual entailed escorting the newlyweds to the bridal couch. At least six witnesses led the couple by torchlight (or just walked with them, if they partied until the daylight) to their bed, where they consummated their marriage by hopping on the good foot and doing the bad thing. This ritual existed so there would be no doubt as to the consecration and validity of the marriage, and enough witnesses to settle any legal disputes that might arise.

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Re: Marriage of Vikings - Norse Traditions
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2017, 12:45:10 am »
Wedding Blessing

I hallow this horn of mead
To Gods and Goddesses
High and Holy
Aesir and Vanir
First known in the North
Frigga and Odin
Thorr and Sif
Freya and Freyr
Balder and Nanna
Disir and Alfar
Bless this Wedding.


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