Modern Tradition/Northern Roots
purpose of this section is to demonstrate just how much of our normal everyday
society has it's origins in the ways of our Northern ancestors. We will be adding
more content on a regular basis so check back often. If you know of a modern
tradition that has it's roots in the Northern Way, drop us a line at email@example.com .
Click on the name of
the tradition you would like to learn more about.
of the Week
The days of the week are derived form the Old English names for Northern gods
Sunnandæg, Sunday: The goddess of the sun Sunna
Monandæg, Monday: The god of the moon Mani
Tìwesdæg, Tuesday: The god Tiu also known as Tyr.
Wodnesdæg, Wednesday: The god Woden also known as Odhinn
Thunresdæg or Thorsdagr, Thursday: The god Thunor also known as
Frìgedæg, Friday: The goddess Frigg
Saeternesdæg, Saturday: Which is named after the Greco-Roman god
The toast comes from a number of sources, one being the Northern rite called
the sumbel or the full. In the full the group would gather around a table and
each person would raise their horn or cup and honor a god, ancestor or make
ritual boasts. [Back]
Crossing Your Fingers For Luck
Crossing fingers comes from the pre-christian practice of Europe. Originally
it was performed with two people crossing their index fingers in such a way
that their fingers formed a solar cross. The solar cross was considered a symbol
of perfect unity and at the point of intersection it was considered that there
were beneficial spirits residing there. If a wish were made on the intersecting
point of the solar cross then it (the wish) was anchored there until such time
as the wish came true. Gradually the custom evolved until only one person was
required to cross their index and middle fingers. [Back]
Tying a String Around Your Finger
Tying a string around your finger originated from the Anglo-Saxons among others
who thought that tying a string around ones finger kept an idea from escaping,
in effect, tying the idea to ones self. [Back]
This tradition comes from Scandinavian lore. According to tradition there was
a banquet in Valholl in which there were twelve gods in attendance. Loki entered
uninvited (raising the number to 13) and it was later that Baldr was killed.
Friday the 13th
This tradition is thought to most likely have started as a christian attempt
to dishonor our great mother goddess Frigga. It was said that when the Germanic
peoples converted to christianity that Frigga was banished to a mountain top
and labeled as a witch. It is said by the christians that every Friday (the
day that is named after her) she would gather 11 other witches and the "devil"
(thirteen total) and would spitefully plan evil doings for following weeks.
13 for we of the Northern way is not unlucky in any fashion nor is Friday the
Stork Bringing a Baby
This tradition started in Scandinavia. Mothers would tell their young that
the new baby was brought by the stork and to explain why the new mother needed
rest they said that the stork bit the mother on the leg while there. The reason
that the stork was used aside from it's common nesting place in people's chimneys
was that they stork was so affectionate to it's parents that it took care of
them in their old age and the long living birds (70 years) mate for life. [Back]
The Best Man
The Best Man in weddings originated with the Germanic Goths. Around 200
C.E. it was customary for a man to marry a woman who lived in his town or village.
But if there was a shortage of women then the man would take a trip to a nearby
village and "steal" a wife. The person he would most likely take along
for this would, of course, be his best friend, i.e. the Best Man. During the
marriage ceremony the Best Man remained at the side of the groom, armed in case
the bride's family had ideas of trying to take her back by force. [Back]
The White Flag
The White Flag comes from the Vikings. During a conflict there were two
shields that were kept for signaling. One was a shield painted red. It signaled
that hostilities were to begin. The other was a white shield which signaled
for the hostilities to cease long enough so that the leaders could confer about
a possible resolution. From the white shield it eventually evolved into the
white flag. [Back]
Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold
Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold originated as a symbolic act for the above
mentioned abducting a bride from which "The Best Man" tradition originated.
Bride Standing to the Left of the Groom
This tradition has it's origins from the same area as the origins of the Best
Man. When a groom abducted his bride, he would have her stand to his left so
that he could protect her, i.e. keep his sword hand free. [Back]
The Honeymoon has two sources. In Germanic and Scandinavian lands when a groom
was forced to abduct his bride they would have to hide out for a time until
the brides family tired of looking for her and returned home. The second source
was the tradition that the bride and groom would share a cup of honey mead every
day for the first month. Hence the honey part of the name. The moon portion
of the name comes from the moon which is the origin of the word month.
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