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?


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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