A Viking Naming Ceremony in Gudvangen

Viking Naming Ceremony Gudvangen

Najua-Alya and Sergio brought their one-year-old daughter Alya from Madrid to Gudvangen in Western Norway to undergo the Norse naming ritual. (Photo: Mal Dickson, Aurland Photography)

In late July during the annual Viking market, a very special ceremony was conducted in Gudvangen, Western Norway: Viking chieftain Georg Olafr Reydarsson Hansen holds little Alya above his head as a confirmation that she has got a name and has become a member of the Viking society .

Two years ago, the Spaniards Najua-Alya Droubi Cannutt (37) and Sergio Jimenez (38) married according to old Viking tradition in Gudvangen. Now, their daughter also has been included into the Norse family.

– It was a very emotional and beautiful ceremony. She is the best thing that has ever happened to us and it was nice to show everyone how much we care about her, says her father Sergio to local newspaper Sogn Avis.

Solemn Ceremony

The naming ceremony was led by Viking chieftain Georg Olafr Reydarsson Hansen who is also a friend of the couple.

British bard Adrian Spendlow, the mother’s parents and two close Norwegian friends also participated in the solemn ceremony at the end of the Nærøyfjord.

The ritual in Gudvangen is executed with the family sitting in a ring around the mother holding the child on her lap. The Viking chieftain says a few words to the little girl before he asks her mother if it is her child, the name of the child and who her father is.

Najua-Alya points at Sergio and asks if he acknowledges the child. The father says “yes” and repeats the name until the mother puts the girl on his knee.

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Viking Naming Ceremony Gudvangen 2The parents of Najua-Alya Droubi Cannutt, two close Norwegian friends and bard Adrian Spendlow attended the ceremony while about fifty people observed from a distance. (Photo: Mal Dickson, Aurland Photography)

The Viking chieftain gives little Alya a Norse blessing, lifts her up above his head before he gives the child to her father. Family and friends also hold the child while saying some nice words.

The ritual concludes with everyone in attendance drinking to the child’s health and future.

The special ceremony does not distinguish between legitimate children and children born out of wedlock.

On the Tenth Day

According to Germanic and Old Norse tradition, a newborn was fully viable and no longer abandonable after nine nights of life. On the tenth day, the child was given a name at a ceremony where he or she became a legal member of the family and eligible to inherit.

The Old Norse term for the naming ceremony is “vatni ausa”, “to sprinkle with water.” As written in the Eddic poem Rígsþula (“Lay of Ríg”):


Jóð ól Edda

jósu vatni,

hörvi svartan,

hétu Þræl.


“A boy bore Great-Grandmother,

they sprinkled with water,

the swarthy of skin,

dubbed him Thrall.”



Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews

Sources: Sogn Avis, A Heathen Thing

Categories: Culture, History, Vikings, Western Norway

7 replies

  1. Thank you for this. This is a wonderful insight to the culture and ways of living that are very nice to understand and learn about.

  2. Thank you for the beautiful article! We love it.

  3. fascinating, thought-provoking and delightful. thank you for sharing.

  4. We thank you from Nordvestri Tangle Tine Hof and Kindred – we are always looking for authentic ceremonies and rites to add to our practice and lore. Frith and Grith

  5. so wonderful to see. i was such an honour to take part in the ceremony too


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  2. A Viking Naming Ceremony in Gudvangen. – www.seanmunger.com

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