For whatever reason and relying on whatever myth or fable, the Vikings had a fascination with blonde hair, and the same as in Western countries today; it was their ideal of beauty. It represented pureness and clarity, and people who were blond were considered of the upper class. Usually, men who had black hair would use a high-concentration soap to bleach their hair and make it bright.
Some groups of Vikings would also bleach their beards, which sounds like a hassle. Another theory is that they first used this soap in order to get rid of lice, and the hair bleaching was just a byproduct.
Tattoos Weren't That Common
Tattoos have been around long before the time of the Vikings. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they had tattoos. Some people today show that they have Viking heritage in their blood by getting what they consider traditional Viking tattoos. However, we are still unsure if Vikings actually had these tattoos or if they were just ancient symbols.
Television and movies depict Vikings falsely, usually having Vikings covered in tattoos all over their bodies, including their neck and face. The Vikings were very clean people; they may not have wanted to cover their bodies in something they could not wash off.
Viking Women Had Basic Rights
Viking men and women weren’t necessarily treated as equals, but they definitely had more rights than other groups of women around the world. They had some rights and freedoms, such as the ability to inherit properties, file for divorce, and reclaim settlements if the marriage didn’t work out.
Viking men were considered to be the men of the house, but the women controlled all the domestics. If a woman was married and her husband died, she would then be responsible for all the duties her husband was once responsible for. Also, even though it was uncommon, there have been stories and legends of shieldmaidens who were female warriors who fought alongside the Viking men.
The Vikings Got to America Before Columbus
It has been said that the Vikings were the ones to discover America roughly 500 years before Christopher Columbus did, but there's no conclusive evidence to prove it. The first group of Europeans to step foot on North American soil was a group of Vikings who were led by Leif Eriksson. His father, Erik the Red, was a very famous traveler prior to his son’s birth.
He actually established the first European settlement of Greenland. It has also been said that Erik the Red sailed from Iceland to Canada and encouraged his son to explore new lands, just like he did.
Death in Viking Culture
When the Vikings passed away, they believed they would go to Valhalla. Before Christianity came to be, Valhalla was considered to be the Vikings' eternal paradise. The belief was that there were warrior-women goddesses who would search battlefields after wars for fallen heroes. Warriors who were considered to have died bravely would be carried by these women to Valhalla.
Another place they believe people would go to is Helgafjell. This is where people would go if they lived a very fulfilling life. Lastly, someone who died dishonorably or in an inappropriate way would go to a place called Helheim, similar to hell.