Blot (a sacrifice)

The Vikings worshipped their gods by sacrificing animals to them. To Odin they sometimes even sacrificed humans! After a series of bad years with a lot of starvation legend tells that the Swedes sacrificed their king to the gods for better harvests.

Yuletide

There was normally a blot at the darkest time of the year. The old year was dead and people offered their gods good food and drink to please them in the hope of a good new year.

Spring

This was the most important time of year. Crops were sown and the survival of the whole family depended on the crops. A sacrifice to the gods was most important.

Summer

There was also a “thanksgiving” sacrifice in late summer to thank the gods for their help in producing good crops.

Traditionally religious ceremonies took place in the open air. During the Viking Age, in more and more places in Scandinavia, some simple sheds or small temples were built on the places of worship. The names of such places ended with – HOV. Placenames like Torshov (Thors-hov) and similar names are common in Scandinavia. They are easy to find. Look for churches if you are travelling through the Scandinavian countryside. The farm nearest to the church will often have a name with a -HOV suffix or simply be called HOV.

This post is also available in: Norwegian Bokmål

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