Nordic Influences – I

I was always intrigued by the Scandinavian mythology. It is one of the few mythologies (possibly the only one) where the Gods will die fighting all evil, in the epic battle of Ragnarok. This came as a surprise because God(s) are supposed to triumph over evil, even if eventually. As I went through their holy books – Prosic and Poetic Edda, I came across some very interesting facts we take at face value.

Weekdays: The names of the six days of the week are named after six Gods of the Scandinavians – Sunday was Son(Sun)’s Day, Monday was Moon’s Day, Tuesday was the Brave Tyr’s Day, Wednesday was the All Father Wodan (Odin)’s Day, Thursday was Almighty Thor’s Day and Friday was Freyr’s Day. I guess most early cultures followed the lunar six days calendar; hence it was the Romans who added a seventh Saturn’s Day.

Directions: According to these legends, the sky is held up at the four corners by four dwarves– Austri, Vestri, Nordi and Sudri, who became East, West, North and South, the four cardinal directions.

Jack and Jill: The old English nursery rhyme has its roots in pagan mythology too. Legends say that with the Moon God are two children whom he carried away from earth-a boy who was called Hjuki (Jack), and a girl whose name is Bill (Jill). These were identified as the spots on the moon. They had been sent out in the darkness of night by their father, to draw a special kind of mead from the spring Byrger, which broke forth from the source of mythical fountain of Mimer, atop a hill. They filled their pail to the brink. (Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.)

This was a fountain special to the Gods and they did not want mortals to share it. When they began to descend the mountain, the Moon God chased them. As they fell down, He seized them and took them away with their pail. (Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.)

 I will talk about more facts in forthcoming posts.