As far as the Vikings are concerned, the world will end on Saturday.
According to Norse mythology, Ragnarok or “Doom of the Gods,” has been brewing for about 100 days. On Saturday, all the gods including Thor, Loki, Odin, Freyr and Hermóðr, will fight in an epic battle. Odin will be killed by Fenrir and the other creator gods will fall.
“The legend of Ragnarok tells of the fall of the Norse gods and the birth of a new world, but, of course, if we wake up to the same old world on the morning of Sunday, February 23, we’ll have no regrets – our celebrations also mark Jolablot, the Viking feast to hail the coming of spring, which to many people is the annual rebirth of the world!” Danielle Daglan, director of the 30th JORVIK Viking Festival to celebrate the apocalyptic event, told the Yorkshire Post in England.
Legend has it Ragnarok will begin when Fenrir the wolf breaks free from his imprisonment. This sets off a chain reaction of events where Jormungand the Midgard snake rises from the sea and a wolf eats the sun. This will culminate in a titanic battle among the gods, men and all the races of the nine worlds.
“The fight between Odin and Fenrir will rage for a long time, but finally Fenrir will seize Odin and swallow him. Odin's son Vidar will at once leap towards the wolf and kill him with his bare hands, ripping the wolf's jaws apart,” Encyclopedia Mythica describes. “Then Surt will fling fire in every direction. The nine worlds will burn, and friends and foes alike will perish. The earth will sink into the sea.”
The sequence of events was prophesied by Odin, who was able to predict the cataclysmic event after he hanged himself from a tree, died and was reborn with wisdom and foresight. This allowed Odin to foresee the events of Ragnarok in order to prepare for the end of the world.
Those who believe in the Ragnarok legend point to several signs to prove its matches the prophecies of the Viking apocalypse.
For instance the prediction: “The first to notice shall be man, brother will fight brother and all the boundaries that exist shall crumble” has some pointing to the notion that the Internet has made the world a global community. The legend also describes a serpent rising from the sea, which bears resemblance to the two oarfish that were discovered on a California beach recently.
But the Viking Apocalypse has a bright side. According to the legend, the world will emerge from the wreckage fertile, with two human survivors who will be responsible for repopulating Earth. Ragnarok takes place after three freezing winters with no summers in between. The event was detailed in the 13th century Prose Edda, written by Snorri Sturluson.