Ragnarok 2014
A depiction of the battle of the doomed Gods, one of the many cataclysmic events called Ragnarok that will lead to end of the world, according to Norse mythology.

Ragnarok 2014 heralds apocalypse on 22 February. Today is the end of the world.

This ancient prediction of apocalypse by the Vikings, the people of the Norse culture (793 to 1066 AD) in Scandinavia, is called Ragnarok.

According to Norse mythology, Ragnarok, also called the fall of the Gods, is the catastrophic battle between all the Viking gods - namely Odin, Thor, Tyr, Freyr, Heimdallr and Loki, following which the world will be submerged in water.

Ragnarok 2014 coincides with the finale of York's 30th Jorvik Viking Festival, one of the largest festivals in Europe, which celebrates the Viking heritage of the ancient English city of York.

The festival organisers define Ragnarok as a prediction about the end of the world in Viking folklore in which a series of events, including the gods' battle and natural disasters, will destroy the nine worlds that make up the universe.

"Ragnarok will begin when the wolf, Fenrir, son of Loki, breaks free of his imprisonment. This will lead to a chain reaction of events including the Midgard snake Jormungand rising from the sea and a wolf devouring the sun," the organisers explained.

"Everything will come to a head in a huge battle that draws in the Gods, men and all the races of the nine worlds."

Ragnarok legend

Legend has it that the events of Ragnarok will cause death of all the Norse gods. In fact, the Norse word Ragnarok has been interpreted as the final destiny of the gods.

Norse folklore suggests that all the sequence of events comprising the Ragnarok was predicted by the Norse god Odin himself. Odin prophesied the events after he acquired wisdom to foresee the future by hanging himself from a tree.

"Odin had hung himself for nine days so that he died and would be re-born with wisdom and foresight," the Jorvik Viking Festival organisers said.

"The wisdom acquired by Odin allowed him to see the events of Ragnarok enabling him to plan for the end of the world."

Unlike other mythological doomsday prophecies, the Vikings predict that Ragnarok will be followed by the birth of a new world with two human survivors who will then populate the world.

Well, even if the world wakes up to another morning on 23 February, the Jorvik Viking Festival will still mark the coming of spring, which is anyway a rebirth of the world every year.

Take a look at the pictures below that explain Ragnarok in Norse mythology.