Kitty Love: Debunking Old Norse Wedding Traditions

Weddings are a special day when two families come together and celebrate a union between a couple. Relatives and friends gather around for a couple to officially tie the knot. Each culture has its own unique traditions and practices, but today MyFriend is introducing you to one culture that unexpectedly loves cats as much as we do! 

There’s been a TikTok sound that’s trending, claiming that it’s customary to give the bride a kitten on her wedding day in the Norse tradition. Now that this unlikely pair of culture and practice! Let’s explore the facts, fascination, and fondness for our feline friends in this article. 😽❤️

Engagements, Proposals, and Wedding Ceremonies 💒

Vikings see weddings as a union between two families, not just between the couple. Their clans were built and kept strong through alliances, so it can be said that weddings were a social contract that was arranged as a political or economic strategy. As a result, the proposal is not what we’re used to in the modern world, and it can be far from romantic. 

Despite this, the wedding is still a joyous occasion, always on a Friday, and full of feasts and fun from all the attendants! You might be wondering, “why Friday?” and it’s because it’s Frigg, Frigga, Freyja, or Freya’s day (there are many variations). In Norse mythology, Frigg is Odin’s wife, and she is the goddess of marriage. Other than Friday, the weather also needs to be perfect for the celebration, as it is held outdoors. 

Photo credit: Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki

Did you know? The days of the week were named after Norse gods and celestial planets. The Sun (Sunday) and the Moon (Monday) became the first two days of the week, and Mars became Tyr (Tuesday), Mercury became Odin (Wednesday), Jupiter became Thor (Thursday) and Venus became Frigg (Friday). Saturday came outside the system: The Norse form ‘Saturday’ means ‘hot water day’ – which can be translated as ‘washing day’ or ‘washing water day’.

And if you’re wondering, yes, Vikings also have a tradition of trading family swords, as well as the traditional ring exchange. But it has also been mentioned that only very wealthy families do this. The custom represents the meshing of two families. From then on, as mentioned, the two families have officially become allies and they would take on the responsibility of caring for and protecting one another. 

The Goddess and Her Cats 😺

So let’s get to the cute stuff! But before understanding the tradition, a little recap of Norse Mythology is needed. There are a lot of cats that appear in Scandinavian Folklore, but the one that stands out the most would be through Freya (Freyja), the goddess that was associated with love, beauty, and fertility (amongst other things) and she had a chariot that was pulled by our beloved felines! 

Cats were Freya’s blessed and favorite animal. It’s been said that Freya’s favorite companions were a gift from her husband, Odin. He found them with their single cat dad named, Bayun. Bayun the cat met a pretty kitty and had kittens with her, but she left him with the children. He then asked Odin to help care for them, and that’s when Odin had the idea to gift them to Freya, his wife. According to the legend, she would bless those who were kind to her cats. There’s also a phrase that would be used if the weather during the wedding was good, that the bride “fed the cat well.”

So is it a Myth or Fact? 🤔❓

TikTok user ABeckCaptures claims that it’s customary to gift the new bride a kitten as part of the housewarming ritual and to honor Freya. That probably sounds like the cutest practice from the most unexpected source, the fearsome Vikings! But to our disappointment, this claim has not been factually proven. There are no sources that state this, although, after the wedding, the Vikings have “The Morning-Gift” tradition, also known as Morgen-gifu. This happens after the wedding night, and the bride will usually receive “clothing, jewelry and household goods, livestock and slaves, and many times land and estates.” Cats might be part of livestock, as they were also useful in the household, for keeping pests in check, but that’s just our speculation. 

It’s a shame that the tradition has no proven evidence. So even if it happened, we don’t really know if it was customary to gift kittens to brides on their wedding day (…yet). But who’s to say we can’t create this into our own traditions? Take this couple as an example. Instead of tossing the bouquet at the end of the ceremony, tossed a kitten plush! Whoever catches the plush gets to adopt a friend from a shelter the couple loves. This way, the cats from the shelter also get to socialize with the guests, and have a shot at finding their forever homes!

These formidable warriors that are known for their fierce nature have a surprising but understandable and relatable soft spot for our feline friends. They have a unique but traditional view on weddings and the coming of two families, as well as interesting rituals that are much more in-depth than what we’ve mentioned! Sadly, the trending fact and TikTok sound was not a reliable source of information, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take inspiration from them! Just make sure that everyone is happy about it, including the animals! So, what are your country’s unique wedding traditions? Let us know! 

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