A summary/translation of an article by Håkan Lindgren in SvD (Svenska Dagbladet) 24 april 2013
In Norse mythology the Fimbulwinter is connected to the Fenris devouring the sun. Many sources speak of the year 536 as a strange year when the sun was veiled. (actually , i would argue it is his son Sköll devouring the sun.).
All this seized in the mid 500´s.Less finds, the sun discs, assumed to be connected with a sun cult, disappear from stones at Gotland and instead the stones are filled with warlike Aesir, as if the sun had fallen from grace.
Picture stone from Hablingbo, Havor. Dated to Iron Age.
There is not enough written or archeological material to make any final assumptions about the reactions of the people of the 500´s according to Gräslund.
Did they co operate or did it start an all out war on all fronts?
The Edda songs speak of “axe times” when not even parents or siblings spared eachother.
According to Anders Andrén, proffessor of archeology at the university of Stockholm several people from Norse mythology where historical people.
Sigurd Fafnirbane was the Burgundian king Sigibert, dead 439.
Tjodrik from the Roek stone is the Ostrogothic king Theodrik, dead 526.
Perhaps the time before 536 appeared as a lost golden age and its old kings became mythic heroes.
So where was the actual eruption?
The latest theory is Ilopango in El Salvador.
If this happened today we would at least have the benefit of understanding what happened. In those days it was understood as “the sun might never regain its power” according to Mikael Syriern quoted by Gräslund.
What known volcano is most likely to produce similar results if it erupted today. A number of Swedish geologists all answered “Yellowstone, U.S.A.”.
This holliday is not (genarally) part of Scandinavian customs (as far as i know) and not from historical sources. It is however often celebrated among Heathens today as part of their custom and a great idea. A day to contemplate your place in the bigger scope of things.
The Gaelic word for the kilt is “Feilidh Beag” (small plaid or blanket ) or in the case of the Belted Plaid “Feilidh Mór” or “Breacan An Feile” (seen in “Braveheart).
The word “Kilt” is Scots and (probably) comes from the Norse worde “Kjalta” (to wrap).
From the same root comes “Kjortel” (the type of tunic worn by many people including the Norse).
In Scandinavian languages you have the Danish “kilt” (to tuck), the Swedish “kilta” (to wrap or swathe) AND the swedish and Danish “Kjol” witch in Norwiegian is called “skjört” and Icelandic “skirt” (pronounced “skeert” but with the same meaning as the English “skirt”).
Also, the the Swedish word for the tunic that is part of Sami folk costumes is “kolt”.
The Celts where known to wear trousers (called “bracae” by the Romans).
The Scoti (Gaels) that came to Scotland from Ireland also wore trousers, so did the Gaels in Ireland.
However, male “kiltlike” garments can be found in many cultures (Romans often wore tunics (the word Tunica is Latin) with or without trousers and the Toga is a fabric wrapped around the body. Egyptians also had a garment similar to the modern smaller kilt.
So is the Kilt a Skirt?
Etymologically there is a connection to skirts, tunics and fabrics being “wrapped” around you in general so i would say yes.
Practically, all kilts (great or small) are “wrapped” around so again, yes.
Is it Norse?
Probably, though it might have been worn with a tunic and / or trousers and it would have resembled the great kilt / belted plaid thrown over the shoulder or over the head as a cloak. Though probably not with anything like a tartan.
Tartan came about by weaving as different colours blend you get a tartan / plaid pattern.
Originally tartans where regional. Some dyes where more common than others in different areas, the rest was up to personal taste.
The idea of tartans strongly connected to certain clans , septs or families came later as part of Victorian romanticism.
Is it masculine?
Etymologically all fabrics wrapped around you are connected (Kjalta) regardless of whom it is wrapped around.
The Scottish kilt however is a male garment.
It is however part of the wear of certain dances and in those it is worn by both men and women (in other dances the women wear a tartan dress with a vest called an “Aboyne”).
Traditionall costumes like the Bonnie Prince Charles ,Montrose Doublet or Argyle are usually only worn by men (they all include the kilt).
In todays fashion anyone can wear a kilt that feels like it with or without tartan.
It can be combined with anything one likes and actually that is the most traditional since it did start out as everyday wear.