Scanian is a related group of South Swedish dialects spoken in the province of Scania in southern Sweden. Scanian formed part of the old Scandinavian dialect continuum and are by most historical linguists considered to be an East Danish dialect group, but due to the modern-era influence from Standard Swedish in the region and because traditional dialectology in the Scandinavian countries has not considered isoglosses that cut across state borders, the Scanian dialects have been treated as a South Swedish dialect group in Swedish dialect research. However, many of the early Scandinavian linguists, including Adolf Noreen and G. Sjöstedt, classified it as "South Scandinavian", some linguists, such as Elias Wessén considered Old Scanian a separate language, classified apart from both Old Danish and Old Swedish. There has been active campaigning from local Scanian interest groups to promote Scanian as a separate language on par with the official minority languages, though this has been rejected by Swedish authorities.
Swedish linguists view Scanian as just one of many local or regional Swedish dialects, some of which differ from Standard Swedish but don't meet the criteria of a separate language. Scanian was classified as a separate language in ISO 639-3, but was declassified as a language in 2009. A request for reinstatement was submitted during the 2009 annual review process, but rejected on the grounds of mutual intelligibility. Within the previous SIL International classification of Scanian were the dialects in the province of Scania, some of the southern dialects of Halland, the dialects of Blekinge and the dialects of the Danish island of Bornholm. With the establishment of the Scanian Academy and with recent heritage conservation programs, funded by Region Skåne and the Swedish Government, there is a renewed interest in the region for Scanian as a cultural language and as a regional identity among younger generations of Scanians. Many of the genuine rural dialects have been in decline subsequent to the industrial revolution and urbanization in Sweden.
The population of Scania consists of around 13.5% of the total population in Sweden. Swedish and Danish are considered to have been the same dialect, Old East Norse, up until the 12th century. However, some scholars speculate that there might have been certain dialect differences within the Nordic language area as early as the Proto-Nordic period; the term Swedish is not mentioned in any source until the first half of the 14th century, no standard spoken language had developed in either Sweden or Denmark before 1500, although some scholars argue that there may have been tendencies towards a more formal "courteous" language among the aristocracy. Scanian appeared in writing before 1200, at a time when Swedish and Danish had yet to be codified, the long struggle between Sweden and Denmark over the right to claim the Old Scanian manuscripts as an early form of either of the two national state languages has led to some odd twists and turns. Two Scanian fragments dated to around 1325 were claimed to be Old Swedish, but further research in modern times has claimed that the language was not Swedish, but Scanian.
During the 20th century the fragments were thus relabeled early Old Danish by Scandinavian linguists, as explained by Danish linguist Britta Olrik Frederiksen, the fragments are now thought to "represent as such a newly claimed territory for the history of the Danish language". Like the Scanian Law, one of the fragments, a six-leaf fragment, is written in the runic alphabet; the place of writing, according to Frederiksen, has been tentatively identified as the Cistercian monastery at Herrevad Abbey in Scania. The fragment contains a translation of Mary's lament at the cross; the other fragment is a bifolium with just over a hundred metrical lines of knittelvers, a translation from Latin of the apocryphal gospel Evangelium Nicodemi about Christ's descent into hell and resurrection. In modern Scandinavian linguistic research, the assertion that Old Scanian was a Swedish dialect before the Swedish acquisition of most of old Skåneland is now argued by linguistic scholars, although the comparative and historical research efforts continue.
One of the artifacts sometimes referred to as support for the view of Scanian as separate from both the Swedish and Danish language is a letter from the 16th century, where the Danish Bible translators were advised not to employ Scanian translators since their language was not "proper Danish". After the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, the former Danish provinces of Blekinge and Scania became a Swedish dominion, but they were allowed to keep their old privileges and customs. However, from the 1680s, a process of Swedification was introduced, including a switch of languages used in churches and restrictions imposed on cross border travel and trade; the situation in Scania was unique from a linguistic point of view. As pointed out by the Norwegian scholar Lars S. Vikør, professor and Linguistics Studies, University of Oslo, in the 2001 book Language and Nationalism, the "animosity between the two countries, the relative closeness of their standard languages, made it imperative to stress the difference between them in the standardization process".
According to Vikør, the "Swedish treatment of the Scanians sho
Scandinavian folklore or Nordic folklore is the folklore of Norway, Denmark and the Faroe Islands. It has common roots as, have been mutually influenced by, folklore in England, the Baltic countries and Sapmi. Folklore is a concept encompassing expressive traditions of a particular group; the peoples of Scandinavia are heterogenous, as are the oral genres and material culture, common in their lands. However, there are some commonalities across Scandinavian folkloric traditions, among them a common ground in elements from Norse mythology as well as Christian conceptions of the world. Among the many tales common in Scandinavian oral traditions, some have become known beyond Scandinavian borders - examples include The Three Billy Goats Gruff and The Giant Who Had No Heart in His Body. A large number of different mythological creatures from Scandinavian folklore have become well-known in other parts of the world through popular culture and fantasy genres; some of these are: Troll, trolde is a designation for several types of human-like supernatural beings in Scandinavian folklore.
They are mentioned in the Edda as a monster with many heads. Trolls became characters in fairy tales and ballads, they play a main part in many of the fairy tales from Asbjørnsen and Moes collections of Norwegian tales. Trolls may be compared to many supernatural beings in other cultures, for instance the cyclops of Greek legends. In Swedish, such beings are termed'jætte', a word related to the Norse'jotun'; the origins of the word troll is uncertain. Trolls are described in many ways in Scandinavian folk litterature, but they are portrayed as stupid, slow to act. In fairy tales and legends about trolls, the plot is that a human with courage and presence of mind can outwit a troll. Sometimes saints' legends involve a holy man tricking an enormous troll to build a church. Trolls come in many different shapes and forms, are not fair to behold, as they can have as many as nine heads. Trolls live throughout the land, dwelling in mountains, under bridges, at the bottom of lakes. Trolls who live in the mountains may be wealthy, hoarding mounds of gold and silver in their cliff dwellings.
Dovregubben, a troll king, lives inside the Dovre Mountains with his court, described in detail in Ibsen's Peer Gynt. Trolls hate the smell of Christians; the Huldra, Skogsrå or Skogfru is a dangerous seductress who lives in the forest. The Huldra is said to lure men with her charm, she has a long cow's tail. If she can manage to get married in a church, her tail falls off and she becomes human. In Scandinavia, there existed the famous race of she-werewolves known with a name of Nattmara; the mara appears as a skinny young woman, dressed in a nightgown, with pale skin and long black hair and nails. As sand they could slip through the slightest crack in the wood of a wall and terrorize the sleeping by "riding" on their chest, thus giving them nightmares, they would sometimes ride cattle that, when touched by the Mara, would have their hair or fur tangled and energy drained, while trees would curl up and wilt. In some tales they had a similar role to the Banshee as an omen of death and if one were to leave a dirty doll in a family living room, one of the members would soon fall ill and die of tuberculosis.
There is controversy as to how they came into being and in some tales, the Maras are restless children, whose souls leave their body at night to haunt the living. If a woman were to have a horse placenta pulled over her head before giving birth, the children would be delivered safely. Nøkken, näcken, or strömkarlen, is a dangerous fresh water dwelling; the nøkk plays a violin to lure his victims out onto thin ice or in leaky boats and draws them down to the bottom of the water where he is waiting for them. The nøkk is a known shapeshifter changing into a horse or a man in order to lure his victims to him; the Nisse or tomte is a good wight who takes care of the house and barn when the farmer is asleep, but only if the farmer reciprocates by setting out food for the nisse and he himself takes care of his family and animals. If the nisse is ignored or maltreated or the farm is not cared for, he can sabotage a lot of the work on the farm to teach the farmer a lesson or two. Although the nisse should be treated with respect and some degree of kindness, he should not be treated too kindly.
In fact, there's a Swedish story in which a farmer and his wife enter their barn an early morning and find the little grey old man brushing the floor. They see his clothing, nothing more than torn rags, so the wife decides to make him some new clothes. Nisser are usually associated with Christmas and the yule time, it is normal that farms may place bowls of rice porridge on the doorsteps in a similar manner that cookies and milk are put out for Santa Claus. In the morning the porridge would have been eaten; some believe. In Swedish, the word Tomten is closely linked to the word for the plot of land where a house or cottage is built, which spells the same both in
A tunic is a garment for the body simple in style, reaching from the shoulders to a length somewhere between the hips and the knees. The name derives from the Latin tunica, the basic garment worn by both men and women in Ancient Rome, which in turn was based on earlier Greek garments that covered wearers' waists. Indus valley civilization figurines depict both men wearing tunic like garment. A terracotta model called"Lady of the spiked throne" depicts two standing turban wearing men wearing what appears to be conical gown marked by dense series of thin vertical incisions that might suggest a stiffened cloth. A similar gold disc in al-Sabah Collection from Kuwait National Museum which appears to be an Indus valley civilization arts depicts similar conical tunic wearing men holding two bulls by their tails under a pipal tree shown in a Indus like mirror symmetry.. A mother goddess figurine from National Museum new Dehli shows a female wearing short tight tunic.. Worn in Indian Sub-Continent, including India and Bangladesh, tunic is referred to as Kurta and is now an emerging women's top style liked by many in the West.
An Asian tunic is adorned with delicate embroidery, bead-work or intricate threadwork as well. Embroidery or thread work on such tunics combines threads of many different colors. Tunics worn by the Celts were documented by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus: "... the way they dress is astonishing: they wear brightly coloured and embroidered shirts, with trousers called braccae and cloaks fastened at the shoulder with a brooch, heavy in winter, light in summer. These cloaks are striped or checkered in design, with the separate checks close together and in various colours." Tunics were worn in ancient Greece, whence the Roman version was adopted. Greek and Roman tunics were an evolution from the similar chiton and exomis all of which can be considered versions of the garment. In ancient Greece, a person's tunic was decorated at the hem-line to represent the city-state in which he lived. Tunics might be dyed like red, purple, or green; the Roman tunica was adopted by the Roman citizens in the 3rd century BC.
It was worn by citizens and non-citizens alike. The length of the garment, the presence or lack of stripes, as well as their width and ornamentation, would indicate the wearer's status in Roman society. Roman senators, for example, used the Laticlavus, with broad purple stripes, members of the equestrian class wore the Angusticlavia, with narrower stripes. Soldiers and manual workers had tunics to a little above the knee; the tunic or chiton was worn as a gown by both genders among the ancient Romans. The body garment was loose-fitting for males beginning at the neck and ending above the knee. A woman's garment could be either close fitting or loose, beginning at the neck and extending over a skirt or skirts; the various Celtic and Germanic peoples living in the colder Middle and Northern Europe wore long-sleeved tunics from as long back as pictorial evidence goes. Such tunics are found depicted on the various Roman monuments depicting victories over these peoples, show the tunic as a simple pull-over construction reaching to the mid-thighs or to the knees.
Similar tunics were taken up by the Romans, continued to be used into the Byzantine period. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the long sleeved Celto-Germanic tunic continued to be worn; the construction was more elaborate than the earlier Graeco-Roman garment, with a tight-fitting neck with a split down the front for pulling it over the head, gusset under the arms and inserted around the lower half to give a flaring skirt. Being used by both Vikings and Normans, the garment continued as a general male garment into the Middle Ages, still being used in Norway as late as the 17th century; the tunic continued to be the basic garment of the Byzantine Romans of both sexes throughout the medieval period. The upper classes wore other garments atop the basic tunic, such as the dalmatica, a heavier and shorter type of tunic, worn by both sexes, or the scaramangion, a riding-coat of Persian origin. Except for the military or riding-dress and women of higher status wore tunics that came down to the ankles, or nearly so.
Tunics were dyed or richly embroidered, although the plainer ones could be used when layering different types. Beyond the reduced empire, the tunic continued to be worn with varying sleeve and hem lengths throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. Reaching the knees or ankles, it was worn over underclothes consisting of a shirt and drawers, it may be accompanied by hose. Wool and linen were common fabrics used, though the wealthy sometimes wore fancy silk tunics, or a lesser fabric with silk trim. Tunics worn during the Early Middle Ages featured decorative embroidery or tablet-woven braids along the neck and wrists; this was the case, for instance, with tunics worn by both rich and poor Anglo-Saxons before the Norman Conquest. Around 1830, small boys began to be dressed in sashed or belted tunics over trousers, a fashion which replaced the earlier skeleton suit. During the Crimean War in the 1850s, it was realized that the waist length jackets, worn by British soldiers since Napoleonic times were unsuitable for fighting in winter conditions.
A new longer jacket was introduced which reached down to the mid thigh and this was named the'tunic' after the'tunica
In mythology and speculative fiction, shapeshifting is the ability of a being or creature to transform its physical form or shape. This is achieved through an inherent ability of a mythological creature, divine intervention or the use of magic; the idea of shapeshifting is present in the oldest forms of totemism and shamanism, as well as the oldest extant literature and epic poems, including works such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Iliad, where the shapeshifting is induced by the act of a deity. The idea persisted through the Middle Ages, where the agency causing shapeshifting is a sorcerer or witch, into the modern period, it remains children's literature and works of popular culture. The most common form of shapeshifting myths is that of therianthropy, the transformation of a human being into an animal or conversely, of an animal into human form. Legends allow for transformations into plants and objects and the assumption of another human countenance. Popular shapeshifting creatures in folklore are werewolves and vampires, the huli jing of East Asia, the gods and demons of numerous mythologies, such as the Norse Loki or the Greek Proteus.
Shapeshifting to the form of a wolf is known as lycanthropy, such creatures who undergo such change are called lycanthropes. Therianthropy is the more general term for human-animal shifts, but it is used in that capacity, it was common for deities to transform mortals into animals and plants. Other terms for shapeshifters include metamorph, the Navajo skin-walker and therianthrope; the prefix "were-," coming from the Old English word for "man", is used to designate shapeshifters. While the popular idea of a shapeshifter is of a human being who turns into something else, there are numerous stories about animals that can transform themselves as well. Examples of shapeshifting in classical literature include many examples in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Circe's transforming of Odysseus' men to pigs in Homer's The Odyssey, Apuleius's Lucius becoming a donkey in The Golden Ass. Proteus was noted among the gods for his shapeshifting. Nereus told Heracles; the Titan Metis, the first wife of Zeus and the mother of the goddess Athena, was believed to be able to change her appearance into anything she wanted.
In one story, she was so proud, that her husband, tricked her into changing into a fly. He swallowed her because he feared that he and Metis would have a son who would be more powerful than Zeus himself. Metis, was pregnant, she built armor for her daughter. The banging of her metalworking made Zeus have a headache, so Hephaestus clove his head with an axe. Athena sprang from her father's head grown, in battle armor. In Greek mythology, the transformation is a punishment from the gods to humans who crossed them. Zeus transformed King Lycaon and his children into wolves as a punishment for either killing Zeus' children or serving him the flesh of Lycaon's own murdered son Nyctimus, depending on the exact version of the myth. Demeter transformed Ascalabus into a lizard for mocking her sorrow and thirst during her search for her daughter Persephone, she turned King Lyncus into a lynx for trying to murder her prophet Triptolemus. Athena transformed Arachne into a spider for challenging her as a weaver and/or weaving a tapestry that insulted the gods.
She turned Nyctimene into an owl, though in this case it was an act of mercy, as the girl wished to hide from the daylight out of shame from being raped by her father. Artemis transformed Actaeon into a stag for spying on her bathing, he was devoured by his own hunting dogs. Galanthis was transformed into a weasel or cat after interfering in Hera's plans to hinder the birth of Heracles. Atalanta and Hippomenes were turned into lions after making love in one of Zeus' temples. Io was a priestess of Hera in Argos, a nymph, raped by Zeus, who changed her into a heifer to escape detection. Hera punished young Tiresias by transforming him into a woman and, seven years back into a man. King Tereus, his wife Procne and her sister Philomela were all turned into birds, after Tereus raped Philomela and cut out her tongue, in revenge she and Procne served him the flesh of his murdered son Itys. While the Greek gods could use transformation punitively – such as Medusa, turned to a monster for having sexual intercourse with Poseidon in Athena's temple – more the tales using it are of amorous adventure.
Zeus transformed himself to approach mortals as a means of gaining access: Danaë as a shower of gold Europa as a bull Leda as a swan Ganymede, as an eagle Alcmene as her husband Amphitryon Hera as a cuckoo Leto as a quail Maia as a gopher Semele as a mortal shepherd Io, as a cloud Nemesis transformed into a goose to escape Zeus' advances, but he turned into a swan. She bore the egg in which Helen of Troy was found. Vertumnus transformed himself into an old woman to gain entry to Pomona's orchard. In other tales, the woman appealed to other gods to protect her from rape, was transformed. Unlike Zeus and
Veneration of the dead
The veneration of the dead, including one's ancestors, is based on love and respect for the deceased. In some cultures, it is related to beliefs that the dead have a continued existence, may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living; some groups venerate their familial ancestors. Certain sects and religions, in particular the Roman Catholic Church, venerate saints as intercessors with God, as well as pray for departed souls in Purgatory. In Europe and Oceania, in some African and Afro-diasporic cultures, the goal of ancestor veneration is to ensure the ancestors' continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living, sometimes to ask for special favours or assistance; the social or non-religious function of ancestor veneration is to cultivate kinship values, such as filial piety, family loyalty, continuity of the family lineage. Ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social and technological complexity, it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times.
Ancestor reverence is not the same as the worship of deities. In some Afro-diasporic cultures, ancestors are seen as being able to intercede on behalf of the living as messengers between humans and the gods; as spirits who were once human themselves, they are seen as being better able to understand human needs than would a divine being. In other cultures, the purpose of ancestor veneration is not to ask for favors but to do one's filial duty; some cultures believe that their ancestors need to be provided for by their descendants, their practices include offerings of food and other provisions. Others do not believe that the ancestors are aware of what their descendants do for them, but that the expression of filial piety is what is important. Most cultures who practice ancestor veneration do not call it "ancestor worship". In English, the word worship refers to the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity or God. However, in other cultures, this act of worship does not confer any belief that the departed ancestors have become some kind of deity.
Rather, the act is a way to respect and look after ancestors in their afterlives as well as seek their guidance for their living descendants. In this regard, many cultures and religions have similar practices; some may visit the graves of their parents or other ancestors, leave flowers and pray to them in order to honor and remember them, while asking their ancestors to continue to look after them. However, this would not be considered as worshipping them since the term worship shows no such meaning. In that sense the phrase ancestor veneration may convey a more accurate sense of what practitioners, such as the Chinese and other Buddhist-influenced and Confucian-influenced societies, as well as the African and European cultures see themselves as doing; this is consistent with the meaning of the word veneration in English, great respect or reverence caused by the dignity, wisdom, or dedication of a person. Although there is no accepted theory concerning the origins of ancestor veneration, this social phenomenon appears in some form in all human cultures documented so far.
David-Barrett and Carney claim that ancestor veneration might have served a group coordination role during human evolution, thus it was the mechanism that led to religious representation fostering group cohesion. Although some historians claim that ancient Egyptian society was a "death cult" because of its elaborate tombs and mummification rituals, it was the opposite; the philosophy that "this world is but a vale of tears" and that to die and be with God is a better existence than an earthly one was unknown among the ancient Egyptians. This was not to say; the Egyptian people loved the culture and religion of their daily lives so much that they wanted to continue them in the next—although some might hope for a better station in the Beautiful West. Tombs were housing in the Hereafter and so they were constructed and decorated, just as homes for the living were. Mummification was a way to preserve the corpse so the ka of the deceased could return to receive offerings of the things s/he enjoyed while alive.
If mummification was not affordable, a "ka-statue" in the likeness of the deceased was carved for this purpose. The Blessed Dead were collectively called the akhu, or "shining ones", they were described as "shining as gold in the belly of Nut" and were indeed depicted as golden stars on the roofs of many tombs and temples. The process by which a ka became an akh was not automatic upon death. However, if the ka was not properly prepared, this journey could be fraught with dangerous pitfalls and strange demons. If the heart was in balance with the Feather of Ma'at, the ka passed judgment and was granted access to the Beautiful West as an akh, ma’a heru to dwell among the gods and other akhu. At this point only was the ka deemed worthy to be venerated by the living through rites and offerings; those who became lost in the duat or deliberately tried to avoid judgment became the unfortunate mutu, t
The cat is a small carnivorous mammal. It is the only domesticated species in the family Felidae and referred to as the domestic cat to distinguish it from wild members of the family; the cat is either a house cat, kept as a pet, or a feral cat ranging and avoiding human contact. A house cat is valued for its ability to hunt rodents. About 60 cat breeds are recognized by various cat registries. Cats are similar in anatomy to the other felid species, with a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp teeth and retractable claws adapted to killing small prey, they are predators who are most active at dusk. Cats can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small animals. Compared to humans, they see better in the dark and have a better sense of smell, but poorer color vision. Cats, despite being solitary hunters, are a social species. Cat communication includes the use of vocalizations including mewing, trilling, hissing and grunting as well as cat-specific body language.
Cats communicate by secreting and perceiving pheromones. Female domestic cats can have kittens from spring to late autumn, with litter sizes ranging from two to five kittens. Domestic cats can be shown as registered pedigreed cats, a hobby known as cat fancy. Failure to control the breeding of pet cats by spaying and neutering, as well as abandonment of pets, has resulted in large numbers of feral cats worldwide, contributing to the extinction of entire bird species, evoking population control, it was long thought that cat domestication was initiated in Egypt, because cats in ancient Egypt were venerated since around 3100 BC. However, the earliest indication for the taming of an African wildcat was found in Cyprus, where a cat skeleton was excavated close by a human Neolithic grave dating to around 7500 BC. African wildcats were first domesticated in the Near East; the leopard cat was tamed independently in China around 5500 BC, though this line of domesticated cats leaves no trace in the domestic cat populations of today.
As of 2017, the domestic cat was the second-most popular pet in the U. S. by number of pets owned, with 95 million cats owned. As of 2017, it was ranked the third-most popular pet in the UK, after fish and dogs, with around 8 million being owned; the number of cats in the UK has nearly doubled since 1965. The origin of the English word cat and its counterparts in other Germanic languages, descended from Proto-Germanic *kattōn-, is controversial, it has traditionally thought to be a borrowing from Late Latin cattus,'domestic cat', from catta, compare Byzantine Greek κάττα, Portuguese and Spanish gato, French chat, Maltese qattus, Lithuanian katė, Old Church Slavonic kotъ, among others. The Late Latin word is thought to originate from an Afro-Asiatic language, but every proposed source word has presented problems. Many references refer to "Berber" kaddîska,'wildcat', Nubian kadīs as possible sources or cognates, but M. Lionel Bender suggests the Nubian term is a loan from Arabic قِطَّة qiṭṭa. Jean-Paul Savignac suggests the Latin word is from an Ancient Egyptian precursor of Coptic ϣⲁⲩ šau,'tomcat', or its feminine form suffixed with -t, but John Huehnergard says "the source was not Egyptian itself, where no analogous form is attested."
Huehnergard opines it is "equally that the forms might derive from an ancient Germanic word, imported into Latin and thence to Greek and to Syriac and Arabic". Guus Kroonen considers the word to be native to Germanic and Northern Europe, suggests that it might be borrowed from Uralic, cf. Northern Sami gáđfi,'female stoat', Hungarian hölgy,'stoat'. In any case, cat is a classic example of a word that has spread as a loanword among numerous languages and cultures: a Wanderwort. An alternative word is English puss. Attested only from the 16th century, it may have been introduced from Dutch poes or from Low German puuskatte, related to Swedish kattepus, or Norwegian pus, pusekatt. Similar forms exist in Irish puisín or puiscín; the etymology of this word is unknown, but it may have arisen from a sound used to attract a cat. A group of cats can be referred to a glaring. A male cat is called a tom or tomcat An unspayed female is called a queen in a cat-breeding context. A juvenile cat is referred to as a kitten.
In Early Modern English, the word kitten was interchangeable with the now-obsolete word catling. The male progenitor of a cat a pedigreed cat, is its sire and its mother is its dam. A pedigreed cat is one. A purebred cat is one. Many pedigreed and purebred cats are exhibited as show cats. Cats of unrecorded, mixed ancestry are referred to as domestic short-haired or domestic long-haired cats, or as random-bred, moggies, or mongrels or mutt-cats; the semi-feral cat, a outdoor cat, is not owned by any one individual, but is friendly to people and may be fed by several households. Feral cats are associated with human habitation areas, foraging for food and sometimes intermittently fed by people, but are wary of human interaction. Domesti
Blót is the term for "sacrifice" in Norse paganism. A blót could be dedicated to any of the Norse gods, the spirits of the land, to ancestors; the sacrifice involved aspects of a sacramental feast. The cognate term blōt or geblōt in Old English would have referred to comparable traditions in Anglo-Saxon paganism, comparanda can be reconstructed for the wider Germanic Indo-European; the word blót is an Old Norse strong neuter noun. The corresponding Old English neuter blōt may be influenced by Old Norse; the reconstructed Proto-Germanic form of the noun is *blōtą "sacrifice, worship". Connected to this is the Proto-Germanic strong verb *blōtaną with descendants in Gothic, Old Norse blóta, Old English blōtan and Old High German bluozan, all of which mean "to sacrifice, worship"; the word appears in a compound attested in Old Norse as blót-hús "house of worship" and in Old High German as bluoz-hūz "temple". With a different nominative affix, the same stem is found in the Proto-Germanic noun *blōstrą "sacrifice" — attested in Gothic * in - "worshipper of God" and Old High German bluostar "offering, sacrifice").
This stem is thought to be connected to the Proto-Germanic verb *blōaną "to blow. Sophus Bugge was the first to suggest a connection between blót and the Latin flamen, both words can be traced back to the Proto-Indo-European stem *bhlād- "to bubble forth; the verb blóta meant "to worship with sacrifice", or "to strengthen". The sacrifice consisted of animals or war prisoners, in particular pigs and horses; the meat was boiled in large cooking pits with heated stones, either indoors or outdoors. The blood was considered to contain special powers and it was sprinkled on the statues of the gods, on the walls and on the participants themselves, it was a sacred moment when the people gathered around the steaming cauldrons to have a meal together with the gods or the Elves. The drink, passed around was blessed and sacred as well and it was passed from participant to participant; the drink was beer or mead but among the nobility it could be imported wine. The old prayer was til árs ok friðar, "for a good year and frith" They asked for fertility, good health, a good life and peace and harmony between the people and the powers.
The autumn blót was performed in the middle of October, the Winter Nights, indicating the beginning of winter. The great midwinter blót, or Yule, took place in the middle of January. Freyr was the most important god at the Midwinter and autumn blót, Christmas ham is still a main Christmas course in parts of Scandinavia; the Summer blót was undertaken in the middle of April and it was given to Odin. They drank for victory in war and this blót was the starting date for Viking expeditions and wars. For the early Anglo-Saxons, November was known as Blōtmōnaþ, as this Old English passage points out: A building where the blót took place was called a hov and there are many place names derived from this in e.g. Scania, West Götaland and East Götaland. Excavations at the medieval churches of Mære in Trøndelag and at Old Uppsala provide the few exceptions where church sites are associated with earlier churches. There were other sacred places called Hörgr, Vé, Lund and Haug. Hörgr means altar consisting of a heap of stones, Lund means "grove" and Ve "sacred place".
The Christian laws forbade worshipping at the haug or haugr meaning "mound" or "barrow". The German historian Thietmar, Count of Merseburg wrote that the Daner had their main cult centre on Zealand at Lejre, where they gathered every nine years and sacrificed 99 people but horses and hens. There are however no historical records from Scandinavian sources nor any archeological findings supporting this. Archaeological excavations have indeed revealed Lejre to be of great importance and in fact the seat of the royal family dating to at least the Iron Age. There is not conclusive evidence that Lejre was the site of a main cult centre though, but excavations around lake Tissø not far to the West, have revealed an ancient hof of great importance. Snorri Sturluson relates of a meeting between the peasants of Trøndelag and king Haakon I of Norway, a meeting which ended in a religious feud centered around the blót. Haakon was raised at the Christian English court and had returned to claim the throne of his father Harald Fairhair and intended to Christianize the country.
In spite of the fact that the peasants had elected Haakon king at the Thing they opposed his religious ideas. It was an old custom, that when there was to be sacrifice all the bóndis should come to the spot where the temple stood and bring with them all that they required while the festival of the sacrifice lasted. To this festival all the men brought ale with them. Hlaut-staves were made, like sprinkling brushes, with which the whole of the altars and the temple walls, both outside and inside, were sprinkled over, the people were sprinkled with the blood; the fire was in the middle of the floor of the temple, over it hung the kettles, the full goblets were handed across the fire.