Cats and Battle Axes Were Gifts For a Bride
[A British publication from the 1860s described these wedding customs from June days of long ago.]
In pagan days, when Rolf married Swedish King Erik’s daughter, the king and queen sat throned in state, whilst courtiers passed in front, offering gifts of oxen, cows, swine, sheep, suckling-pigs, geese, and even cats. A shield, sword, and axe were among the bride’s wedding outfit, that she might, if necessary, defend herself against being beaten by her husband.
A wedding was a reason to celebrate, and country folk in Norway treated couples on their wedding day as if they were royalty.
In Norway, the marriages of the bonder or peasantry are conducted with very cheerful ceremonies, and in each parish there is a set of ornaments for the temporary use of the bride, including a showy tiara and a vest with apron set with jewels; so that the poorest woman in the land has the gratification of appearing for one day of her life in a guise which she probably thinks equal to that of a queen. […] In the International Exhibition at London, in 1862, the Norwegian court showed the model of a peasant couple, as dressed and decorated for their wedding; and every beholder must have been impressed by its homely splendors.
Chambers’ Popular Antiquities