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Embrace your inner Viking during this weekend’s Ragnarok


By Elizabeth Cychosz

YORK, U.K. – Grab your fur coats and helmets, guys, because we might be facing the end of the world.

Experts from the Jorvik Viking Centre have identified this Saturday, Feb. 22, as Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse of lore. According to legend, the Earth will split open and fall into the sea, the gods Thor, Loki, Odin, Freyr and Hermóðr will engage in battle and fall, and life as we know it will cease to exist. Time Magazine says it’s “kind of like the Hunger Games but with pissed-off ancient deities.”

“Ragnarok is the ultimate landmark in Viking mythology, when the gods fall and die, so this really is an event that should not be underestimated,” Danielle Daglan told The Independent. Daglan is the director of a week-long annual Viking festival, which will conclude on Saturday and is run by the Jorvik Viking Centre.

If you can’t make it to the festival in York this weekend, here are some tips on how to celebrate the Norse way while in Athens:

  1. Invite your friends for an old-fashioned Viking feast. Break out your best wooden bowls to load up on protein and carbs after a long day of raiding and pillaging. In historic times, a typical feast would include roasted horse or lamb, salted pork or fish, fresh bread, cheese, fruit and honey. Beer and mead complete the meal, but only if you’re over 21, kiddos!
  2. Sit down for a Skyrim marathon. The fifth in Bethesda’s popular Elder Scrolls video game series draws inspiration from Norse mythology, from fighting draugrs (Norse term for an animated corpse) to visiting a warrior-afterlife in Sovngarde (similar to the Norse Valhalla). Also, be jealous of this Rice University course dedicated to comparisons between the two.
  3. Play a game of Hnefatafl. This ancient Scandinavian board game is similar to chess, and there are several variants available online.
  4. Break out your plastic swords and protective gear for a faux battle. The Vikings are notorious among historical cultures for their widespread influence across Europe, due mostly to their excellent ships and fighting ability. In case you’re interested, check out this short Nova documentary about recreating the most prized of Viking swords. Just be safe!
  5. Check out a Viking-inspired movie. In addition to recent releases like Thor and How to Train Your Dragon, plenty of classic films explored the lives of the Norsemen.
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