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Brandurgrof

Krovandir Funeral Rites

Performed when the Jarl of a clan dies, the Brandurgrof is the process of honouring and cremating the body; the rite is solely used for the Jarl or any of his family who predecease him, and is considered both time to grieve for them and celebrate their life.

History

The Krovast, and their off shoot culture the Kohan, have both practiced Brandurgrof for nearly two millennia.

Execution

After his death the body of the Jarl is placed on a bier within the communal room of their longhouse or home, with the doors left open to allow any and all to come and honour them in state. Gifts that are brought as a mark of respect are placed on the bier with to be carried with them as the brandungrof finishes. In this three day period a stone burial mound with a small chimney vent is constructed, usually near to the Jarl's ancestors or to other honoured dead, by their Huscarls; this mound must according to tradition be finished within the three days - a task that can prove arduous in the long winter months.

On sunrise of the fourth day the Jar'ls doors close, and the family is given a day to grieve in private, as well as to start making any preparations for the change in leadership that follows (be it the Jarl's heir taking their rightful place, or if the Jarl was without children for his nominated Second to claim the Jarl's seat). As the evening draws in, the entire settlement starts feasting, drinking and celebrating with the noise of the merriment and frivolity meant to be a way to ensure that the Gods know that the Jarl's soul is worthy to be commended to the afterlife. The Jarl's family and close clan join the celebration after dark and pass through the crowds hearing stories and words about the deceased throughout the night.

Then, as the moon rises and reaches midnight, the family, his Huscarls and the Jarl-apparent return hom, collect the bier with all its gifts and walk through the night to burial mound. There the body is placed within, and silently the huscarls place wood, pitch and kindling around the corpse, a small bag containing certain dried berries is the last thing to be placed. The Jarl's partner or the hier-apparent then lights the pyre, and all silently watch for the smoke to start rising from the mound's chimney vent. As the fire catches the small bag burns, and the components within ignite causing the rising smoke to turn red - it is at this moment the Jarl is released from Heimval.


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