I've recently watched Midsommar (2019). During the summer festival, which was held during the friends visit in Sweden, we see some terrifying, brutal and definitely scary rituals. I'm speaking about these:

Throwing the oldest members of the family (or tribe) from a rock when they reach a certain age.

Blood eagle execution of those who are thought to be traitors.

Sex intercourse of young members to make baby to celebrate life

I'm not familiar with Swedish folk stories and I know that the brutality depicted in the movie is exaggerated and there is nothing like that today. But are they inspired from any specific ancient pagan folk culture?

  • Why would it be relevant if they are or not? It's a movie.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jun 19, 2021 at 8:54
  • 4
    @BCdotWEB Haven't you ever wonder if something you see in a movie is real or not? It's a question.
    – Peyman.H
    Jun 19, 2021 at 10:50
  • 5
    @BCdotWEB How would this not be relevant?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 19, 2021 at 12:41
  • @NapoleonWilson You could ask this same question about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or tons of other movies. They're movies, these things aren't real and at most they're vaguely based on an existing thing, but that isn't relevant. Midsommar isn't a documentary, it's a horror movie.
    – BCdotWEB
    Jun 19, 2021 at 14:17
  • 4
    @BCdotWEB Sure it's not a documentary. But still the rituals it depicts might be inspired by existing folklore (unless they aren't of course, but therefore the question). Saying because it's a horror movie everything is entirely made up is rather...short-sighted. And saying its inspirations aren't relevant for furthering its appreciation even more so. I feel like the word "relevant" is becoming quite the anti-pattern. How does the genre of the film void the relevance of its themes and inspirations?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Jun 19, 2021 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


The Swedish term for the first is called Ättestupa, and there are several locations for this in Sweden (my mom grew up close to one of these, and have mentioned this several times). The actual practice is just myth, according to Wikipedia.

For the third point, I have not seen the movie, but Swedish people are known to procreate.


Culling the old is reasonably common in fiction. Notable it's the central concept of Logan's Run. I'm not aware of any Scandinavian traditions, but Euthanasia has been around since ancient times.

Blood eagle executions appear in Norse folklore, but it's unclear whether they ever actually happened for real.

Having not seen the film, I'm not sure precisely what you mean for the third thing. There have probably been groups of people ritualistically having sex in any way you could imagine.

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