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why choose a Viking Funeral in a modern age

Why Choose a Viking Funeral in the Modern Age?

Why Choose a Viking Funeral in the Modern Age?

In a world where tradition often intersects with modernity, the choice of a Viking funeral stands out as a powerful and evocative way to honour a loved one. Rooted in ancient customs and legendary sagas, Viking funerals offer a unique blend of historical reverence and profound symbolism, making them an increasingly popular option in contemporary times.

A Connection to Heritage and History

The allure of a Viking funeral lies in its deep connection to heritage and history. For those with Scandinavian roots or an appreciation for Norse culture, this type of send-off can feel profoundly meaningful. Viking funerals pay homage to the bravery, honour, and adventure embodied by the Norse people. By choosing this form of farewell, families can create a ceremony that resonates with historical significance and personal relevance.

In the sagas, Viking funerals are depicted with great respect and reverence. The “Ynglinga Saga” describes a king’s burial:

“Then King Halfdan was laid in a mound at Hringarike, but his horse was led to the funeral pyre. This mound was always open to the sky.”

This passage reflects the grandeur and solemnity that can be replicated in modern Viking funerals, whether through a boat burial or a symbolic burning at sea.

Symbolism and Serenity

A Viking funeral on water, with a burning boat drifting into the horizon, symbolizes a journey to the afterlife, echoing the Norse belief in Valhalla, the majestic hall where warriors hoped to reunite. This powerful imagery resonates deeply with those who seek a serene and dignified farewell for their loved ones.

The “Hávamál”, a collection of Old Norse poems from the “Poetic Edda”, states:

“Cattle die, and kinsmen die, and so one dies oneself; but a noble name will never die, if good renown one gets.”

This quote underscores the importance of honouring the deceased in a way that ensures their memory and legacy endure, a sentiment beautifully captured by the timeless tradition of a Viking funeral.

A Historical Perspective: The Arab Chronicler

One of the most vivid historical accounts of a Viking funeral comes from the 10th-century Arab traveller and chronicler, Ahmad Ibn Fadlan. His detailed observations provide a unique perspective on Viking customs. Ibn Fadlan witnessed a Viking ship burial along the Volga River, describing it in his writings with striking clarity:

“Then they drew near a boat, drew the dead body out of the temporary grave, put it on a boat, and set fire to it, whereupon the whole was burnt very quickly.”

Ibn Fadlan’s account highlights the dramatic and solemn nature of Viking funerals, where the deceased was honoured with a ceremonious burning ship, signifying their journey to Valhalla. This historical perspective enriches our understanding of the cultural and spiritual significance of Viking funerals, offering a glimpse into the practices that have inspired modern renditions of this ancient tradition.

Environmental Considerations

In addition to their symbolic and cultural significance, Viking funerals can also align with modern environmental values. Many contemporary Viking funeral services use eco-friendly materials for the boats and pyres, ensuring that the process is as sustainable as it is meaningful. This approach appeals to those who wish to minimise their environmental impact while honouring their loved one in a respectful and dignified manner.

A Unique and Memorable Farewell

In an age where personalisation is key, a Viking funeral offers a distinct and memorable way to say goodbye. The striking visual of a burning boat, set against the backdrop of a tranquil lake or sea, creates a powerful and lasting image for those left behind. This dramatic and heartfelt farewell can provide a sense of closure and peace, helping families to cope with their loss.

Moreover, the communal aspect of a Viking funeral, often involving a gathering of family and friends, allows for shared remembrance and support. This collective experience can strengthen bonds and create a shared sense of connection and solace.


Choosing a Viking funeral in the modern age is about more than just embracing an ancient tradition; it’s about creating a meaningful and memorable tribute that honours the spirit and legacy of the departed. With its rich historical roots, powerful symbolism, and potential for environmental consciousness, a Viking funeral offers a dignified and timeless way to say farewell.

For those seeking a unique and resonant ceremony, the Viking funeral stands as a testament to the enduring power of tradition and the timeless journey of life and death.

And whilst we can’t do the full scale version we can offer you the essence with our Viking Long Boat Urn


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