It has been almost a thousand years since the "Viking time" was considered over. However, people all over the world are still fascinated with the history of the Norse people. Although Vikings are most often associated with cruel raids and battles, most of us who cherish Norse heritage know that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that the legendary Viking warriors were famous for many other reasons as well.
The Vikings had a rich culture and strong moral convictions. They were physically strong with impressive size and height. They were courageous, honourable, and loyal. Viking life and tradition, as well as these virtues we have just mentioned, are an inspiration and an incentive for a lot of people to opt for a Viking lifestyle nowadays.
If you value the same principles as the Norsemen did, or are fascinated with Viking history and would love to bring more of it into your life, you will love this article!
Today we will talk about what it takes to be a real modern-day Viking. Then, what qualities characterize a true Viking, as well as what the Viking lifestyle looks like today. We will cover a few more interesting topics, but we will not spoil you all the fun now. In the end, we will answer one interesting question:
Is it possible to transfer a part of the Norse heritage to the 21st century?
First, let's try to answer a slightly different question...
"Are there Vikings in today's world?"
Are There Modern Vikings?
To answer this question, we must first know what defines a real modern-day Viking. Is it their origin? Their race? Their religious beliefs?
The answer to each of these questions is - NO.
So what is crucial for someone to be considered a modern-day Viking?
The virtues that characterized every true Viking are what matters, nothing else! To be a modern-day Viking, you do not have to be of Scandinavian origin, nor do you have to believe in the Nordic gods such as Odin or Thor. Also, it doesn't matter what race you belong to. Being a Viking is a life commitment. As simple as that.
Nowadays, Vikings need to face their problems bravely. The modern-day Viking should be ambitious, to easily conquer the unknown and expand their horizons. The modern-day Vikings should respect real Viking's moral code, which included nine virtues: honor, honesty, courage, loyalty, generosity, perseverance, diligence, hospitality, and discipline. If you are someone whose moral convictions are aligned with these qualities, you are well on your way to earn the respect of the Norsemen who dwell in Valhalla and become one of them.
As you can see, it is possible to be a Viking nowadays. If you try to apply these nine Viking virtues in everyday life, you will realize that Norsemen lived their lives guided by a good moral philosophy. After all, that should be the biggest reason why people should live like modern-day Vikings today.
Who Are Modern Day Descendants of the Viking?
Ancient Norse settlements exist all over the world. However, the Scandinavian countries, as well as Great Britain, are most often associated with the Vikings.
According to the data, almost a million men from Great Britain are of Viking origin. Key data obtained during the study conducted by BritainsDNA show that 29.2% of the male population from Shetland and 25.2% from the Orkney Islands have DNA that connects them to the Vikings.
The most prominent areas in terms of population with direct descendants of the Vikings are Yorkshire and North England (5.6% and 4%). More precisely, even more than 300 thousand northerners are descended directly from the Vikings, which is slightly less than one-third of the total number of Viking descendants in Great Britain.
Although Ireland is considered the country where the Vikings first settled en masse, very few men from Ireland (living on the Emerald Isle) have been found to carry Viking genes (1.4%).
If you love statistics, check out the regions with the highest percentage of Viking descendants out of the total men population:
- 29.2% - Shetland,
- 25.2% - Orkney,
- 17.5% - Caithness,
- 12.3% - Isle of Man,
- 11.3% - Western Isles,
- 9.9% - North West Scotland and the Inner Hebrides,
- 5.8% - Argyll,
- 5.6% - Yorkshire,
- 4.9% - North East Scotland,
- 4% - North England,
- 3.6% - East England,
- 3.% - South West Scotland,
- 2.7% - South East Scotland,
- 2.6% - Central England,
- 2.2% - Central Scotland,
- 1.9% - South East England,
- 1.6% - South West England,
- 1.4% - Ireland (Ulster),
- 1.3% - Ireland (Munster),
- 1.2% - Ireland (Connacht),
- 1% - Wales,
- 1% -Ireland (Leinster).
As you can see, the Vikings are still alive. The Viking heritage is deeply rooted in the countries of Scandinavia and Great Britain. Now that we have cleared this up, let us take a look at the words that originate from the Viking era, that we still use today.
What Viking Words Do We Still Use Today?
Although the English language spoken today is considered West Germanic, it contains linguistic remnants from the time when the brave Norsemen lived.
So let's see what words originate from the Vikings and are still in use today:
When the Vikings uttered insults to each other, they used the word "uggligr", which originated from the word "ugga" (to fear). They often used it to describe a person who was not attractive at all.
The name Thursday comes from Thor's Day (Nordic god of thunder).
The word knife is also one of the last words originating from the Norse time. The knife, or "knīfr" as the ancient Norsemen called it, was a significant symbol in Viking culture. Even the modern Swedish word for a knife is quite similar - "kniv."
The word "husband" in Old Norse meant "host", and came from the word "hūsbōndi" (hūs - house and b kućandi - owner).
The word "Berserk" comes from the Viking warriors called Berserkers, meaning "bear shirt" (ber - bear and serkr - shirt).
This may come as a surprise, but even the names for some delicacies come from the Viking Age. Cake is one of them. The word "cake" comes from the word "kaka" which was used in the Viking Age as a name for a treat.
The word "happiness" derives from the Old Norse word "heppinn", which means "to be happy".
According to the old Nordic language, the word window literally means "wind-eye." The name "window" is derived from the word "vindauga" (wind - wind and auga - eye).
If you expected that the word "Viking" would also be on our list, you were right. The word "Viking" comes from the Old Norse word "vika", which means "sea mile."
Many other words originate from the Viking Era, and you probably have no idea about them. This is just another proof of how important the Viking heritage is for "modern" people, even though they might not be aware of it.
Now, let us see what the lifestyle of real Vikings looked like back in the day. That is, let's try to figure out how to make their lifestyle find a place in the modern world.
What is the Viking Lifestyle?
The fact is that many people today want to be Vikings. But, the question arises whether it is entirely possible to adapt to the lifestyle of the old Norsemen in modern society? In our humble opinion, yes, it's possible.
Living like a Viking does not mean that you have to give up the comfort of the modern-day life or quit the job you do. Nor does it mean that you should dress like a Viking and join groups that completely reconstruct Viking life. As we said at the beginning, in order to live like a modern-day Viking, you need to respect the set of Viking values and their philosophy of life.
A modern Viking is one who has great self-confidence and perseverance. The lifestyle of the modern-day Viking is such that he likes to explore and always tries to give his best on every occasion. Modern-day Vikings are the ones who do not turn their heads away from injustice, but bravely face it.
Considering the moral values that the Norsemen aspired to, we can conclude that the modern world really needs Vikings.
So, is it possible to transfer a part of Viking culture to the 21st century?
Of course, it is!
Keep doing your job the best you can, pay your bills, and do all those everyday boring things that are an integral part of modern life. But when it comes to moral principles, when you need to boldly stand up on the side of truth and justice, be a Viking. A true modern-day Viking.
Until our next meeting,