The Viking funeral lasted 10 days.
The Vikings had their own specific culture, full of myths, mysterious creatures, legends and above all rituals. That’s why it’s interesting to see what their funerals looked like. Especially when it came to the chef, it was a very moving sight. What traditions were still linked to funerals? You wouldn’t believe it’s possible at all.
The life of the Vikings still fascinates people around the world, which is why a number of claims are associated with them. The best known are that the Vikings were predatory and violent warriors whose expansion affected all of Europe. Fortunately, we also know a lot about their legends, especially those about Valhalla and the afterlife, their epics, their religions and their crafts. And it is the rituals associated with death that we are going to study today.
The Vikings had their specific religion. They were very devoted to their Asatra, a faith so different from Christianity, and worshiped the families of the gods – Aesir – as mischievous and deadly as all peoples. They prayed and sacrificed to them, but rather to win the battle and their lives were many.
Strange traditions were misunderstood by those around them
In one of the 10th century chronicles written by a Muslim Ibn Fadlan, there is talk of violent burials of a Viking leader, where orgies even took place. The funerals of the chiefs were exceptional, but this one exceeded all expectations. When the Viking leader died, his body was buried, but the preparation of his burial robe took 10 days. The funeral ritual lasted the same duration – the body was in the ground and the other Vikings were preparing for cremation. And it was during this time that his companions drank bottomlessly and had sex with condemned slaves. Ten days later, on the day of cremation, the body was exhumed and burned. Unfortunately, he was also associated with and willfully burned slaves or slaughtered boys, slaughtered dogs, cows, horses, his weapons, ships and food.
These orgiastic, drunken performances by the grieving Vikings must have been completely mesmerizing and chilling for non-attendees. And that is exactly how Ibn Fadlan felt, for whom the Vikings were only “Allah’s dirtiest creatures”.
How are funerals described?
In his chronicle, Muslim Fadlan described all the customs of the funeral of a rich or poor Viking man.
He claims that in the case of a poor man, the Vikings built a small boat, placed his body in it and burned it.
In the case of a rich man, they collected all his possessions and divided them into three parts. One went to his family, another was an investment in burial clothes, and the third was alcohol for celebrations before the deceased’s slave was willfully killed.
These human sacrifices in the case of the chiefs were voluntary – but whoever agreed once had to keep his promise.
Watch the Viking funeral film clip here:
In his chronicle, Fadlán describes in detail the chief’s funeral on the ship which he attended. After her body was dressed in ready-made and finished clothes, a girl called “the angel of death” arrived. According to tradition, she had to finish the funeral dress and kill the slave who left the sovereign. The dressed body was then placed on padded pillows in one of the ship’s cabins. Meanwhile, the slave, who wished to be killed, gradually entered one ship’s cabin after another and fucked each one. The men said to him: “Tell your master that I did it out of love for you.”
The spooky tradition of the ancient Vikings: A dead child protects the house
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The ceremony then continued. The hen was sacrificed, the girl got rid of all the jewels and gave them to the angel of death and her daughters, then said goodbye. She was dragged into one of the shacks, where the men banged on their shields so the other slaves wouldn’t hear her cries. Six men had sex with the slave. Then, with the angel crown, she was killed a terrible death. Only then was she burned by her relatives along with other sacrificial items, including the ship itself. When the Viking king died, 400 men and 40 slaves died with him, Fadlan wrote. The Vikings then built a mound of clay on top of the burnt ship.
This description of the Viking warrior’s funeral has inspired many people to try and find the ship and all the remains and riches. So far to no avail.
ancientcodex.com, www.ancient-origins.net, www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/king-aelle