The end of the world is here. We have less than 24 hours left before the apocalypse begins, bringing with it death and destruction across the planet.
That is according to Viking folklore, which predicts Ragnorak, or the apocalypse, will take place on 22 February.
Doomsday will also coincide with the Jorvic Viking Festival in York, which kicked off earlier this week and will end with a great battle and feast.
What will happen?
Norse king Odin saw the events of Ragnarok after hanging himself from Yggdrasill, the world tree, for nine days where he died and was reborn with wisdom and foresight: "The wisdom acquired by Odin allowed him to see the events of Ragnarok enabling him to plan for the end of the world, including rounding up all the Vikings heroes who died in battle to Valhalla, his great hall where they would feast and wait for the end of the world and the battle to end all battles," festival organisers explain.
When the world ends, the Sun's beams are expected to turn to black and the weather will become treacherous. A prophetic poem tells of how brothers will kill one another and sisters' children will defile kinships: "It is harsh in the world, whoredom rife - an axe age, a sword age - shields are riven - a wind age, a wolf age - before the world goes headlong. No man will have mercy on another."
How to survive?
Viking Jarl Fastulf has provided some top tips on how to survive Ragnarok. Fastulf, from the Jorvik Viking Centre, issued the advice below ahead of the apocalypse:
- Feast like it is the last meal you will eat! A Viking would never go into battle on an empty stomach, so make sure that you feast like a Norse lord this evening. However, that does not mean consuming too much ale or mead – it would not be fitting to fight alongside the gods with a bad head!
- Face Ragnarok with courage and conviction! Polish your armour, sharpen your weapons and show no fear! The Vikings of Jorvik may have become peaceful settlers, but at their heart, they were still bold and brave warriors!
- Beware the wolf and the serpent – according to the prophecy, Fenrir the wolf will kill Odin himself, whilst the serpent Jormungandr will bite Thor who eventually succumbs to the poison, but not before he has slain it! So, if you spot wolves or giant serpents, keep your head down!
- Keep your horn by your side! It was the mythical Gallerhorn, blown by the god Heimdallr, that started the current 100-day countdown to Ragnarok. However, do not think that sticking horns to the side of your helmet will endear you to your Viking brethren; only a fool would add handles to his helmet as it makes it too easy for your enemy to keep you still whilst he chops off your head!
- Don't put all of your eggs into one basket. Predictions based on legends handed down in the oral storytelling tradition favoured by our Norse ancestors are notoriously unreliable, especially when you factor in the work of Loki, the trickster god! Putting off your homework or cleaning the car until you have seen if the world really does break in two is acceptable, spending all your money and giving away all of your possessions would be rather premature! You may well live to fight another day!