The Norse people were a tough bunch, and their weddings were no exception. These ancient traditions might sound strange to us today, but back then they were considered normal parts of life that would help prepare you for your new life together. The wedding ceremonies were so important that they could last up to three days!
1. The bride's family would build a temporary shelter called a hús náms in order to prepare the bride for her new life. This is where she would learn how to be a good homemaker
This is traditionally constructed of wood, straw, and thatch. The bride would stay in this hut for anywhere from a few days to up to two weeks. During her time there she would learn how to knit, cook, spin thread and weave cloth. While she was in the hús náms, other women would visit her daily and teach her skills needed for homemaking: how to wash clothes by hand; bake bread; make cheese; milk cows; make butter; churn cream into butter (if you've ever tried this without an electric mixer it's not easy).
2. Before the groom could even propose, he was required to run a series of tests. He had to prove he was a good farmer and hunter, as well as that he had enough social status within his village.
You see, before the groom could even propose to his bride, he was required to run a series of tests. He had to prove that he was a good farmer and hunter. He also had to prove that he had enough social status within his village—after all, it was important for a woman’s family to ensure that their daughter would be taken care of for life.The groom may have been nervous about these tasks, but once they were completed and approved by the bride’s family… well! That meant only one thing: It was time for the wedding!
3. Each couple would receive a piece of land from the groom's father that they could use to start their new life together.
Land was a highly valuable asset in Viking times, and according to this tradition, it was given to each bride by her husband as a symbol of his love for her. She would use it to grow food for the family, build them a home and raise their children on; she would be able to pass down the land so that these things could continue through generations of families.
4. Often there would be one night where the groom and his friends would kidnap the bride and bring her to their village, and then another where the bride and her friends would kidnap the groom and bring him into hers.
These kidnapping traditions are called bride-stealing. The groom would come to the bride's house and try to kidnap her, wearing white clothing like his friends. Her family would do everything they could to keep her safe, as she was dressed in white for the occasion. The bride's side would also dress in white on this day, and attempt a rescue of their own! A battle would ensue between both parties, with each side trying to snatch up the other's brides. The only rule was that no one could actually harm anyone else—as long as no one got hurt or any blood was shed, it was all good fun!
5. On the day of their wedding, each couple would have their handmaidens wash them. They would then put on special clothing given to them by their parents, which would have been made from special silk or linen brought from eastern Europe.
On the day of their wedding, each couple would have their handmaidens wash them. They would then put on special clothing given to them by their parents, which would have been made from special silk or linen brought from eastern Europe. The bride's dress was made of silk or linen and decorated with gold thread and jewels; the groom wore woolen trousers and a tunic made with Scandinavian patterns.
6. Each ceremony starts with the exchanging of rings by both partners, which were often made from iron or copper instead of gold because they were much more affordable metal at that time.
You may know this, but the tradition of exchanging rings dates back to ancient times. In Norse weddings, each ceremony started with the bride and groom drinking from a single horn as a symbol of their unity. The couple then exchanged iron or copper rings to signify their love for each other. These metals were chosen because they were much more affordable than gold—and since everyone knows how expensive weddings are nowadays!
This custom is still practiced today by some couples who want to keep traditions alive in their wedding day. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using real gold rings instead if you prefer them; there’s no rule that says you have to use iron or copper!
7. Norse weddings started with the bride and groom drinking from a single horn.
Another fun tradition is the bride and groom drinking from a single horn. This symbolizes their bond and was shared to strengthen the union between them. The horn was often made from iron or copper instead of gold because they were much more affordable metals back then.
8. Afterward, they were carried home on a shield or in a wagon pulled by oxen and decorated with greenery and flowers. Takeaway: That was one crazy ride!
After the ceremony, they were carried home on a shield or in a wagon pulled by oxen and decorated with greenery and flowers. Takeaway: That was one crazy ride!
During the ceremony, couples drank from a single horn of mead as a symbol of their new bond. In addition to mead, at least one goat was sacrificed for the feast, which included lots of singing and dancing.
With so many traditions in place, it's not surprising that some of them are still being celebrated today. So if you're planning your own Norse wedding and want to honor these fun customs, why not incorporate some of them into your big day? You never know what might happen!
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