This Is The First Step For The Vikings To Go To Valhalla
The Vikings believed in Valhalla the Hall of the Slain which was ruled over by Odin the Allfather. But to gain a seat next to Odin was no easy task. The Vikings must prove themselves worth the position along the Gods by committing honourable actions. For example, only the warriors who fought bravely in the battle could go to Valhalla. So to get a better afterlife, the Vikings had to prepare a lot. The first step began when they were still little children.
A modern depiction of Viking children training to use bow and arrow
From Viking sagas, we know that Viking boys would reach their adulthood when they turned 12. The brutal warriors once were the innocent kids. But the warrior blood ran in their veins from birth until the days they entered Valhalla. However, not all of the Viking boys had the professional environment to train themselves. Only the ones born in wealthy families could get the chance to learn various skills and combat techniques. This doesn't mean that only kids from wealthy families could become warriors. In fact, children from the lower classes could have played war games. They might have trained themselves when they followed their fathers to cultivate, hunt, or fish. Even if they didn't learn any combat techniques during their cultivation, they could build up their stamina.
Wrestling and Snowball Fight
Wrestling was among one of the most popular games that the Viking boys would love to do during the whole year. Indeed, the Viking age had a name for this wrestling game: Glima (See more: The martial arts that the Vikings used). During the wrestling games, the Vikings could improve their speed and agility. Though this game didn't need any weapon, it was a good preparation for the close combat in the future.
Besides, the Viking chidren could train their discipline and rules through the game. Everyone had to know and silently swear not to hurt the opponent intentionally during the game. Anyone wanting to join the game must swear and the rule was taken seriously. Those who broke the rules were called the níðingr one of the worst criticism in the Viking age.
When the winter came, it snowed so much that the Vikings could use to snow to build fortresses. They used their fortresses as their battle arena. Snowball fight was not only entertaining for the kids but also to train them with the throwing skills.
The Code of Honour
The most important was the attitude. And the Vikings once learnt about their society's honour. The Vikings believed that their destiny had been sealed from their birth. The Norns were the ones that wove the threads of fate and no one could ever escape their fate. No one could ever change it to their will and only the brave men could go to Valhalla. A Viking, therefore, had to fight like a true Viking warrior and die like a Viking warrior in their battle.
In the battles, there were two possibilities that might happen: failure or survival. So the Vikings just became brave for they knew that they couldn't change the fate. Nothing could kill them when their time wasn't over and no one could ever save the one who was set to die.
To the Viking belief, to die in the battle was the most honourable thing that a Viking could do to prove they deserve to be along their Gods. The deeds of raiding and plundering were also revered. Meanwhile, thefts were considered the coward actions.
The Viking boys had to prove that they were suitable to serve in the army. If they were born in the wealthy families, they could prove themselves by taking part in the battle or going on raiding through the oceans.
The sagas mentioned that Olaf Tryggvason killed his first victim since he was nine years old. Olaf Haraldsson who later became Olaf the Holy went on raiding since he was twelve. Although saga might have exaggerated to say about their heroes, it somehow showed that the Vikings already trained themselves to go to Valhalla since they were little kids.