Viking Names: How the Vikings Gave Children Their Names

Viking babies had to face many struggles after they were born. One of the first actions that adults would do to them was to examine if they had physical disabilities or not. If they spotted disabilities, they were abandoned in a forest and left to die. But if they weren’t disabled based on their standards back in the day, they were allowed to join a naming ritual.           

After the delivery of the Viking baby, the mother would place the offspring on the ground and then get picked up by the father. This act of the father meant that he had accepted the newborn to be his child. 

The father was actually the one who assessed the child in the first place. And his judgment and decision would ultimately determine the fate of the child. It was up to him whether the child would live or not. And if the child was lucky not to have any deformities or disabilities, he/she would then have to endure a ritual called Ausa Vatni. 

During this ancient ceremony or ritual, the baby would be sprinkled with water and then given a name. And despite whether the child came from a poor or wealthy family, a gift would be given. It could either be a farm or land-related token, ring, weapon, etc. However, the parents had to make sure that they wouldn’t leave the baby behind after the formal ceremony as it would be considered murder if they committed that act.  

The Ausa Vatni ritual was also practiced by the Northern Frankish tribes. Some scholars even believed that the act of baptism of the Christians somehow resembled this Viking ritual.       


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