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9 Facts About Vikings Whose Lifestyle Was Way More Glamorous Than What’s Shown in Movies

Thanks to movies, we tend to believe that Vikings were tough, unkempt, hairy men dressed in dirty clothes. And only experts know that these Scandinavian warriors were some of the most well-groomed people in Europe who loved to don creative hairstyles, charm English ladies, and even invented what we know to be a honeymoon.

They groomed themselves daily to stave off the end of the world.

Vikings began each morning with a personal hygiene regimen, and Saturday was the day for bathing and washing clothes. It’s believed that their cleaning habits were rooted in their mythology. The Scandinavian poetry stressed the importance of keeping oneself “well-kempt and clean” because you never knew where you’d find yourself in the evening.

Additionally, they believed that the soul of the departed arrived at the other world looking exactly like they did right before their death. This is why you had to look your best to ensure you wouldn’t be shamed in the presence of the gods and the souls that departed before you. A tidy appearance also had cosmic significance in maintaining order. Trimmed fingernails, for example, could help stave off the cataclysm of Ragnarök that would end the world.

They liked to dress in style.

In movies and TV series, we often see Vikings dressed in dark, dull clothes in gray or brown colors. But in reality, they loved vivid colors, like blue, green, purple, red, and yellow.

They also loved jewelry. Their favorite items were neck rings, necklaces, bracelets, finger and toe rings, arm rings, earrings, amulets and pendants, armbands, beads, and brooches.

By the way, Viking women usually covered their heads, unlike what is often shown on-screen where their hair is always loose. Usually, they’d wear tall headdresses or a scarf.

Vikings were ladies’ men.

Vikings were so attractive that even Englishmen tried to look like them.

One English historian wrote that the Danes made themselves too acceptable to English women through their elegant manners and self-care. And the reason why was that Englishmen didn’t have a habit of changing their garments often and bathing on a weekly basis like Vikings.

Men wore makeup.

Vikings lined their eyes with kohl made of crushed antimony, burnt almonds, lead, oxidized copper, ochre, ash, malachite, and chrysocolla. It helped them protect their eyes from the bright sunlight. Other sources claim that this makeup helped to ward off insects.

Vikings believed that the kohl eyeliner helped to cool and strengthen the eyes, as well as prevent and treat certain eye diseases, such as cataracts. And it helped to improve vision in general.

They dyed their hair.

Most Scandinavians were blonde, especially in the Northern part of the region. But this doesn’t mean that there weren’t Vikings with dark or red hair.

At the same time, blonde hair was considered the most attractive. This is why men and women used lye to bleach their locks. By the way, they bleached their beards too.

They braided their hair.

Vikings groomed their hair and combed it at least once a day. Some historians speculate that they did it to control lice, but there is not enough evidence to support this. Perhaps Vikings just enjoyed the process of brushing.

Also, researchers believe that Vikings braided their hair. Young women, in particular, wore this hairstyle during celebrations, and some men wore it when they went off on military campaigns.

They ate white carrots and bread made of birch bark.

According to Medieval standards, Vikings had a good diet. Every level of society, from kings to common sailors, ate meat every day. Most often, it was pork because pigs were easy to raise, but they also ate beef, mutton, and goats. Horses were also raised for food.

The favorite dish for Vikings was a boiled meat stew, called skause. As meats and vegetables were taken out of the pot, new ones were added, and so on and so forth for a few days. Skause was eaten with bread baked with all sorts of grains, beans, and even tree bark. They also ate carrots and cabbage, however, carrots weren’t orange at the time, but rather, white.

Vikings created honeymoons.

Viking weddings usually took place on Fridays, as this was the day of Frigg, the goddess of marriage and fertility. They preferred to get married in the fall because this was the season for harvesting crops, making it possible to provide guests with a wide variety of foods.

Newlyweds often received a month’s worth of a sweet beverage made of honey as a wedding gift. The term “honeymoon” came from this tradition.

Spouses could divorce because of the partner’s dressing habits.

A man’s infidelity wasn’t considered a strong reason for divorce. But if a husband wore effeminate clothes, particularly low-cut shirts that exposed his chest, his wife could divorce him.

If a woman appeared in public wearing pants, her husband also could divorce her.

What do you know about Vikings? Did you learn something new about them from this article?

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