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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Thor's Day

I rarely go to the movies anymore being that I find so much of what Hollywood has on offer these days to be complete crap. Nonetheless, me and the Mrs. went to check out Thor this past weekend. It was quite entertaining actually and we both enjoyed it. One little snippet from the film portrays how we supposedly got the name for our fifth day of the week....

"Thor was usually portrayed as a large, powerful man with a red beard, flowing hair, a hearty enjoyment of food and drink and eyes of lightning. Despite his ferocious appearance, he was quite popular as the protector of both gods and humans from the forces of evil. He even surpassed his father Odin in popularity because, contrary to Odin, he did not require human sacrifices. At his temple in Uppsala he is shown standing with Odin at his right side. The 11th century Christian missionary, Adam of Bremen, on noting the great temple of the gods in Uppsala, Sweden, wrote, "Thor, they say, presides over the air, he governs the thunder and lightening, the wind and rains, fair weather and crops... If plague and famine threaten, a libation is poured to the idol Thor." This temple was replaced by a Christian church in 1080.

Thor was the foremost of the gods to the common man, who could call upon him to ensure fertility, and widely worshipped. Hammer shaped amulets, a symbol of Thor because it was his weapon, were worn around the neck well into the Christianization of Scandinavia. There are molds from that time that contain both the cross and hammer shapes, side by side. His name occurs in numerous place names and it was his statue which was central in the great temple at Uppsala. He was associated by the Romans with Jupiter. Donar was an early version of Thor among the Germans. the Anglo-Saxons worshipped a thunder god named Thunor.

Thor has lived on, not as a part of any religion, but on our weekly calender. Thursday (Thor's Day) was derived from this mighty god."

I guess there is truth to this because this information is found at other sites as well. Upon reading this, I was reminded of an earlier entry that I posted which contained the following...

"In A.D. 1020, the Norwegians had their first national assembly in their history. At this gathering, presided over by King Olav, Christianity became law. "At the same time," writes Norwegian historian Sverre Steen, "old practices became illegal, such as blood sacrifice, black magic, the 'setting out' of infants', slavery and polygamy."

So it took the penetrating power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to turn the hearts of the most feirce, warrior like people that Europe has ever known.

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