Principality culture and society is a mix of varying civilizations throughout history including some aspects of the modern world. A huge segment of Principality culture comes from pre-christian Scandinavia where many social norms coincide with these ancient societies. One varying difference is that Northern culture is more female orientated rather than male orientated.
A huge importance if placed on honour, integrity, and the value of one's spoken word. Things like lying and dishonesty are considered major social violations and wrongdoers can be shamed, ostracized or even banned from the Principality for serious atrocities in these categories. Bravery and courage are highly valued as well as humanitarian works, kindness, courtesy, and adherence to Principality laws.
The Principality of the Northern Forest Cultural Norms
Within the female-dominated Northerner society, women have a substantial amount of personal power, depending on their social status. Many areas of society both males and females share the same rights and priviledges of some modern societies. Both travel away from home—fishing, hunting, trapping, exploring or on trading missions—whomever stays home takes over all the responsibilities of the home. In Northern society it was shameful for a man to harm a woman, but not necessarily for a woman to harm a man. What constitutes "harm" per se is subjective when viewed outside our statutory laws. Males have 40% more muscle mass on average and this biological fact tends to make males much more restrained against women in Northern society.
When both are home women tend to be more domestic, taking care of the family, preparing food, laundry, milking cows, sheep and goats, making butter and cheeses, preserving food for winter, gardening, cleaning and the most time-consuming task of all, making the family’s clothes. Spinning, carding, weaving, cutting and sewing takes a long time. Those who spin their own yarn sometimes take 35 hours to spin enough yarn for a day’s weaving, to give you some idea of how much time it takes to make all of these hand made clothing northerners wear.
Men tend to build structures, hunt & trap animals, fish, smoke meat, tan hides, maintain buildings, trails, tools, practice with weaponry, make meade, cut firewood, harvest animals, make leather, armour, and other more generic masculine cultural norms around the world. However, you will see females doing what males mostly do and males doing what females mostly do. While it is uncommon, it is not looked down upon either. Some people have no desire to marry and many of those people need the skills more practiced by the opposite sex. There is no real male or female work, just work and tasks that need to be done. However, the above mentioned tasks tend to be preferred by males or females.
Thus, for expository simplicity, then; when looking at Northern culture it is easy to see how it is highly similar to ancient Nordic Culture in the vast majority of ways. However, some aspects of other cultures have been integrated such as the western European system of Nobility and Knighthoods as well as some of the clothing of pre-14th century Western Europe (especially England and Ireland)
Northern women marry whom they choose and divorce whomever they choose. Once a girl choses who she desires to marry, her parents generally deal with the wedding ceremony or, more rarely, by a local member of the nobility should their parents not be around or living in the Principality. Northern marriage ceremonies are legally binging in most countries in the world.
Some Northerner Marriage Traditions include:
The importance of a celebratory feast
The exchanging of swords
The involvement of Norse Gods, especially Thor or Frejya
Scheduling the wedding on a Friday as any other day of the week was considered bad
Rings are exchanged during the ceremony, but also swords. The groom would present an ancestral sword to his bride, with the intention for it to be passed on to future sons or daughters. The bride would also gift the groom an ancestral sword to symbolise the transfer of a father's protection of a bride to the husband. Bridges wear a bridal crown typically made of silver and often a family heirloom, the crown would replace the bride's former Kransen. That would be safely stored away to pass on to a potential daughter of the couple. Evergreen-twigs are dipped in the blood of goats and used to sprinkle the couple with blessings from the God & Goddesses.
Old Norse Religion
In the world of Norse mythology, we find gods and goddesses, giants, strange and powerful creatures, elves, dwarves and land spirits. It is difficult for a 21st century person to conceive of the worldview of the Northerners, brimming as it was with such a variety of spiritual beings, but it is really no different than the extraordinary stories of other more recent or modern religions such as Christianity.
Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds
The center Northern world is the ash tree Yggdrasil, growing out of the Well of Urd. Yggdrasil holds the Nine Worlds, home of gods, man and all spiritual beings. The gods live in Asgard and Vanaheim and humans inhabit Midgard. Giants live in Jotunheim, elves in Alfheim and dwarves in Svartalfheim. Another is the primordial world of ice, Niflheim, while Muspelheim is the world of fire. The last world comprises Hel, the land of the dead, ruled by the goddess Hel.
Gods and Goddesses
The gods and goddesses venerated by Northerners tend to be Odin, Thor, Loki, Baldur, Frigg, Freya, Freyr and Njoror. There are many other gods and goddesses in the Norse pantheon but these received the primary attention in the sagas and eddas.
Odin, the allfather, the one-eyed seeker of wisdom, god of magic, war and runes, hung himself on Yggdrasil for nine days and nights to find wisdom, brought the runes to mankind
Thor, with his magic hammer Mjolnir, protects mankind and his realm of Midgard, god of warriors
Loki, a dangerous half-god, half-giant trickster always wreaking havoc among the gods
Baldur, son of Odin and Frigg, a beautiful and gracious god, beloved of all, killed by Loki’s trickery
Frigg, wife of Odin, practitioner of magic, goddess of the home, mother of Baldur
Freya, feather-cloaked goddess of love and fertility but also of war and death
Freyr, her brother, god of farming, agriculture, fertility and prosperity
Njoror, powerful god of the sea
Giants, Elves, Dwarves and Land Spirits
Giant is not a good name for these spiritual beings; think of them as devourers, out to destroy order and return the world to primeval chaos. They are the enemies of gods, but also their relatives. Giants are dangerous to mankind, which is why Thor often hunts them. Elves and dwarves appear in the sagas, but are different from what we might picture them to be. Dwarves are miners and smiths and live underground. They are invisible, powerful spiritual beings, not short humans. Elves are also spiritual beings, demi-gods who can mate with mankind and have children with them.
Land spirits inhabit everything on the land—trees, herbs, stones and bodies of water. The land spirits (landvaettir in Old Norse) hold considerable power over the well being of the land and those who live on it. People took care to honor and placate the landvaettir. In the first law of Iceland, Vikings were told to remove the dragon heads from their ships when approaching land so they wouldn’t frighten the land spirits.
Old Norse is intricate and complex and we’ve presented just the barest bones here. You can take it upon yourself to delve further into Northern religious practices.
Northern symbols play a large role in Our iconography, just as they do in all societies. Symbols are cultural shorthand, a sign that conveys layers of meaning about the culture. The Northerners use symbols to represent Our gods, beliefs and mythologies. Cultural symbols can take any form, such as sounds, gestures, words, pictures and images. Most of the Northerner symbols are carved on runestones, swords, axes and other items precious to the Northern people. The sagas refer to amulets the people still wear, such as Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. The Princess wears a pure silver amulet of Sleipnir and is not ever known to not be wearing it.
Interestingly, the Princess also has a large tattoo of Sleipnir on her back with Odin's Ravens. Norse tattoos are common amongst Northerners including all members of the Royal Family. Northerners love decorating the items around Us, such as Our weapons, bowls, tools and combs. We use Nordic symbols in the decorative arts, in weaving, bone carving and in jewelry. Many Northerners wear Thor’s hammer on thongs around Our necks. Jewelry, runestones and valuable weapons were often engraved with the symbols that resonated the most with us Northerners: The Valknut, the Helm of Awe and Thor’s hammer. This is a non-exhaustive list of what people use or attach significance to in their personal lives.
Most of the clothing worn by Northerners is made of flax linen and wool. Much of it is handmade and the styles mostly reflect that of Western Europe and Scandinavia prior to the end of the 14th century. For example, the Princess wears both handsewn and machine sewn dresses, but mostly handsewn from Iceland, Denmark, and Norway. She prefers ancient Nordic wool dresses with handsewn embroidery, but also wears some Celtic dresses and is particularly fond of what is called the "Moy Dress" which was common in 14th century Ireland.
Many of the women wear what is called a "Hangerock" or Apron Dress for short. It was also known as a Smokkr, this type of dress was a common garment among the Scandinavian women who combined it with a pair of turtle brooches with stringed beads. The brooches are used to fasten the shoulder straps in the front. You can find these without the brooches as well but the Broches and beads seem to be quite popular and a way for unique expression. Beads are made of glass, bone, wood, and various other materials including precious metals such as silver.
Woman Wearing an Apron-Dress
Males are quite artistic with their clothing and have a huge array of options to choose from. Like today’s men and women, Northerners dress according to sex, age and economic status. Sometimes Northern males supplement their attire with jewellery and furs from different animals. The tunic is reminiscent of a long-armed shirt without buttons and might go down to the knees. Over his shoulders the men like to wear a cloak in colder weather, which was fastened with a brooch.
As these clothes generally have no pockets or elastic, men wear belts or have string fastened around the waist to hold their clothes up. On his belt, the man might carry a purse or knife. The purse could contain various items, like a strike-a-light, comb, nail cleaner, gaming pieces and silver coins. Some men also wear caps, which are either pointed or have rounded crowns. The caps are usually made of wool or some type of animal fur or skin. There is alos nothing stopping them from wearing plain modern clothing, but it tends to be "out of place" in the greater scheme of things and it makes a person stick out like a visitor or tourist.
Man wearing typical Northern Attire