A Very Viking Halloween

A Very Viking Halloween

What harvest and "Day of the Dead" celebrations did the Vikings have?
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As October begins and leaves start to fall, the anticipation for Halloween becomes crisp in the air. As a holiday, many are aware of the Celtic origin of Halloween and the Christian influences that have caused it to evolve over the ages into what it is now. So I'm not going to talk about that, since it's been talked about in great length so much already. What I wanted to know is did the Vikings have a Halloween equivalent? The answer lies in how we define Halloween. If we define it as the modern holiday that we celebrate today then no, they did not. But, if we look back at the Pre-Christian basis for Halloween and especially the Mexican Day of the Dead the answer is certainly a yes. The Nordic peoples had ritual celebrations called blóts which occurred throughout the year, including just before the harvest season, and were sacrificial towards a specific goal. The two blót s that I will be looking at are the Álfablót and the Dísablót.


The Álfablót

In preparation for this article, this blót was the first to come up in my searching for a Nordic equivalent of Halloween. The Álfablót is a sacrifice to the elves at the end of the autumnal season and harvest. How this relates to a "Day of the Dead" is through the mythological understanding of elves in Nordic culture. Alfs (Elves) were associated with burial mounds (pictured below) as they would live in and around them. The reasoning behind this is many texts suggest that elves were merely another incarnation of a human soul or that the dead were merely referred to as elves. An excellent example is of King Olaf of Geirstad, or later known as Olaf Geirstad-Alf. King Olaf, after he died and was buried in a mound, was venerated as an elf, giving him his new name of Olaf Geirstad-Alf (the elf of Geirstad). With this connection between elves and the dead, the Álfablót was possibly concerned with ancestor worship. Since this sacrifice is towards elves, it stands to reason that Freyr, one of the most important gods in Norse mythology, is involved as well.

Freyr was given Álfheimr, the realm of the elves, as a teething gift. This insinuates that Freyr is the ruler of the elves (which many texts claim, as well). Other than his patronage through fertility and prosperity, it is possible that Freyr can be associated with the souls of the dead, since many texts suggest elves and those souls are one in the same. So the Álfablót is just as much a sacrifice to him as it is to the elves. The trouble with the Álfablót is that it was an extremely private event, even going as far as disregarding hospitality and turning travelers away, and so there aren't many details out there about it. All we are left with is putting the puzzle pieces together, as you can see.


The Dísablót

In contrast to the Álfablót, the Dísablót was a public event that was widely celebrated. In fact, it is still celebrated today at Uppsala, Sweden. Carried out by the head woman or mother, the Dísablót was a blót held during the vetrnætr or Winter Nights which were a span of days which marked the transition between the harvest season and the winter season. This blót was a celebration in honor of the Dísir, the goddesses and female entities of the Nordic world. These spirits tended to influence fertility, fate, and well being in general, just as the classical Halloween celebrations are concerned with warding off harmful spirits. There is drinking, feasting, celebration, and glory honoring of spirits through sacrifice and such. The goddesses and beings that would have been most likely sacrificed to during this celebration are Freyja, Hel, the Valkyries, the Norns, the Fylgjur, and female ancestors in general. Most, if not all, of those beings were associated with death or spirits.


Freyja

The twin sister of Freyr, Freyja, in short, is the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, war, and death. Half of the dead who fall in battle go to her realm, Fólkvangr, which is much like the Greek Elysium. The connections between sacrificing to Freyja and honoring one's deceased ancestors are not hard to make here. The links to harvest and fertility, much like her brother, further strengthen the notions of a classic Halloween-like celebration.


Hel

As a being and a place, Hel receives the dead that don't die in battle, but rather die in old age or from disease. Hel controls vast legions of souls and can even control who comes and goes through her realm. It is possible that a sacrifice to Hel would be an attempt to curry favor with this being so that they or an ancestor may be treated well in her halls, or perhaps as a way of sending a message to the dead.


Valkyries, Norns, and Fylgjur

I lump these three together because they all have a similar function having to do with fate or the dead.

Valkyries (pictured below), literally "the choosers of the slain," decide who will die in battle for them to take to Valhalla. To sacrifice to them would be a plea to be honored with the glory of being taken to Valhalla by these beings, as well as a way to honor those who are in Valhalla.

The Norns are beings who control the fates of men and gods alike. It would, obviously, be favorable to sacrifice and honor these beings.

The Fylgjur are a tricky bunch. They are similar to guardian spirits that follow a person around and have an influence on their fortune and certain outcomes of fate. It is noted that if a Fylgjur appears in the form of a women good fortune for the self or the family is in the waiting. An attempt to bring about such fortune at the Dísablót would be beneficial to a community as a whole and would ward off evil beings or events.

From what I have listed here, and read otherwise, both instances of celebration are as close to a Halloween as the Vikings got. The theme of honoring or sacrificing to the dead or beings that have some charge of the dead stays consistent with the origins of Halloween. I as well see the differences between the Dísablót and the Álfablót as a more strict version of what we do today. Our modern Dísablót is the eating, drinking, and fun in close regard to the dead. We dress up as and mimic the dead as a way of bringing us closer to our ancestors. Our Álfablót is the familial remembrances of loved ones as well as the observance of superstitions towards the dead. We have a period of thought and veneration for our own elves.

Happy Halloween, my friends.

Cover Image Credit: http://odroerirjournal.com/season-of-the-disir-winternights-and-the-disablot-in-early-medieval-scandinavian-belief/

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7 Lies From F*ckboys That We've All Fallen For At Least Once

They might've had you goin' for a hot second, but you know better now.
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There’s no use in even frontin’; we’ve all been there. You know he’s a f*ckboy from the beginning, but you’re interested in pursuing him anyway. Ain't no thang; I fully support you.

You tell yourself you won’t fall for his games or lies because you’ve been through it all so many times before. Yet, time and time again, you find yourself slippin’ for a hot second, wanting to give him the benefit of the doubt until he inevitably disappoints you. Here are the top seven lies you’ve heard from f*ckboys that get you heated every time.

1. You’re the only girl I’m talking to/sleeping with


HAHAHA. OK, first, I don't actually care what (or who) you're doing in your spare time because you're definitely not the only guy I'm seeing either. I'm just asking so I know you're clean, OK? I don't need more stress in my life.

2. I know how to treat girls right

Isn't it super ironic how the WORST f*ckboys are the ones to toss this line?

3. I’ll text you

This statement is so unbelievable that on the off chance that they do actually text you, you basically fall out of your chair in shock.

4. I’m gonna give it to you good

I cry/cringe/die of laughter every time I hear this one because it's always the mediocre ones that throw this line. None of my most memorable hookups have ever said this because their actions clearly speak for them. Mediocre boys, TAKE NOTE.

5. Damn, I wanted to see you though

Well, you were supposed to, but then you clearly had other plans in mind. So the desire wasn’t all that intense, obviously.

6. Yeah, she and I broke up

CLASSIC LIE. CLASSIC. Sure, I believed it the first couple of times, but don’t even try that sh*t with me after I see she’s still blowin’ up your line.

7. *No response for hours after making plans* Damn, sorry I fell asleep


Honestly, how many times are you gonna throw that line when you’re literally viewable on Snap Map. BOY, I see you at someone else’s house. Stop frontin’, there’s no point.


Again, don't ask me why we put up with this sh*t because the mystery remains. I guess in our own sick, twisted ways, we crave the dramatics and thrills that come from their f*ckery. Whatever the reason, though, at least we've got some ~fun~ stories to tell.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube | I'm Shmacked

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“All-inclusive” Sports Do More Harm Than Good

The real world requires skill sets and diligence, not a degree in complaining about “fairness.”
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Our school years have an enormous impact on the way we grow as we get older. Who we turn out to be depends greatly (although not entirely) on how we are brought up and what we experience between the ages of 4 and 18. Without realizing it everything we face affects our futures; getting us ready to thrive on our own. One of the most significant things we experience growing is the possibility of failure and the need to improve. High school sports and interactive clubs are coincidentally the primary source of experience for this necessary life lesson.

High school extracurriculars such as clubs and club sports are all-inclusive, a way to enjoy a hobby without being “cut” and to experience and delve into different ideas. Clubs are important in that they help shape our values and thought processes without the “tough love” aspect but instead as an equal group of members.

High school sports and teams are not the same thing nor should they be. Most high school sports involve tryouts and result in some participants to get cut from consideration, or in some cases are placed between “A” and “B” teams based on talent and ability. High school sports in this way teach us the necessity to improve and the need to exceed, traits imperative to success in careers in the real world. Sports that have room for a certain number of teammates cause players and athletes to have to show their worth, prove their strength and exercise dedication. Not taking a team sport seriously and lacking to show any steadfast traits ultimately results in failure to make the team. This should show athletes that wanting something does not get you anywhere, rather working for it and putting the effort in is what will get you there. The failure to make a team and the threat of less playing time as a consequence for deficient effort makes a determined individual work harder and focus on improving the skills necessary to succeed.

The real world requires effort and determination. To succeed and excel in careers you need to work hard, prove your worth and exemplify strength and diligence in your field. You will not get anywhere without hard work and constantly improving your skills and abilities. Success in reality is like success on a team sport: if you show little desire and hardly any rigor you will not get anywhere nor will you climb further in success in your career. Knowing how to fix what you do wrong or are not excellent in, not whining and complaining about the basis for success “not being fair” is how you will get places in life, whether in sports or in careers.

High school teams becoming “all-inclusive” is more harmful than it is good to society. To eliminate the expectations of a team sport, to not require hard work and effort and a skill set is to teach teens laziness and to expect what you want instead of working for it. Giving in to every single participant does not reflect the necessary prerequisites for success in the workforce. High school sports have more importance to our development than just exercise and athleticism. Allowing every participant to be on a team or get a trophy fails to mold students into successful, driven adults. If you do not want to face being cut from a team or not playing as much, join a club sport instead of a team sport.

The real world requires improvement for us to be successful. Participation trophies and “all-inclusive” sports teams teach us otherwise.

Cover Image Credit: LexiHanna

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