January 5, 2009

Edinburgh Embraces it’s Pagan past

Filed under: NEWS — Matt @ 3:22 am

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/vikingbr/public_html/viking/wp-includes/functions-formatting.php on line 83

This magnificent photo is not an excerpt from a new movie, or an old movie for that matter, it’s from Edinburgh, Scotland, taken on December 29th 2008, and it’s just another marvelous example of how this beautiful city actively embraces it’s, and Scotland’s, ‘heathen’ pagan past.

(Above) Vikings cavort ’round the burning longship.

From bronze and iron age neolithic tribes and hill forts, the original castle’s founding by the Christian convert King Edwin(Æduini) of Northumbria as Dùn Èideann in the 7th century, through the rule and expansion by the Danelaw (Danish Vikings in Northern England/Southern Scotland), and finally to Edinburgh’s taking by the Scot’s after the Danelaw collapsed in the late 10th century, Edinburgh, and Scotland, are literally steeped in pre-Christian lore and legend, and it’s a magnificent city to be in to experience the various festivals throughout the year as shown in these pics.

(Above) All the gear this fellow is wearing was made by his hand.

(Above) View of the Fire Procession back down Royal Mile, Edinburgh City Centre

Every year on December 29th there is a procession of fire starting from the Royal Mile in the centre of the city. Led by torch wielding Viking warriors from Orkney & Shetland (dressed in full handmade battle regalia, including the fearsome ‘Viking Axe’, swords and metal embossed shields), the procession includes well more than 10,000 people carrying flaming torches (you can buy a wax based torch for 5 pounds that goes to charity, or just join the procession without one), and winds it’s way through city streets and up to Calton Hill, one of the highest points in the city, where the huge ceremonial Longship is torched and the Hogemany (New Year) celebrations are opened.

It’s a truely magnificent sight to feast your eyes upon. Unfortunately, mead is extremely difficult to obtain here in Scotland, so we had to make do with ale instead!

(Above) Me with one of the ‘Brethren’