The Ragnarok end of the world event is a stunning experience with thrilling live battle action, sound and light effects, pyrotechnics, and 300 Viking warriors gathering in Dean’s Park in British York. Jorvik Viking Festival director Danielle Daglan said in the morning of Feb. 22 that “the eyes of the world will be on York tonight as our countdown to Ragnarok comes to an end, and if the prediction does come true, we are determined to go out with a bang,” reported Minsterfm from England on Feb. 22, 2014.
According to Norse mythology, Ragnarok (also seen as Ragnarök) is the “Doom of the Gods” and the final battle in which Norse gods Thor, Loki, Odin, Freyr, and Hermoor fight and die.
The epic battle -- after which the Earth splits open and becomes submersed in water -- was first described in the 13th century in the “Poetic Edda” and “Prose Edda” and was popularized in 1876 by 19th-century composer Richard Wagner in “Götterdämmerung,” the last of his “Der Ring des Nibelungen” operas.
The Ragnarok end of the world event starts actually in November, 100 days before Feb. 22. According to Norse mythology, following the end of the world comes a rebirth and the world resurfaces anew and fertile.
The concept of the world coming to an end and being reborn is widespread in many mythologies. In Europe, the annual "end of the world as we know it" event is being celebrated during “Carnival” time from November until February. Of course, the concept of an apocalypse is not to be taken literally but symbolically. Each year, the earth dies during winter and comes back to life in the spring.
In Germany, “Carnival” becomes a time of people dressing in the scariest costumes, celebrating in the streets, and making the loudest noises to drive out the gods of winter so the world can be reborn again.
In British York, experts from the Jorvik Viking Center predict each year that the world ends on Feb. 22. And this year, the grand finale coincided with the 30th Jorvik Viking Festival.
Pictures of the thrilling live battle action and other events can be viewed on the Jorvik Viking Center gallery web page.
In regard to the Ragnarok end of the world festival on Saturday, director Danielle Daglan said on Feb. 23 on the Jorvik Viking Festival website that “it goes without saying that we are delighted that our prediction of Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse, did not actually occur, although given the pyrotechnics and screams of delight this evening at the finale of the JORVIK Viking Festival, people around York might have momentarily believed it did!”