In Iceland, Christianity and paganism have gone side by side ever since the lawsayer Thorgeir Ljósvetningagodi announced in 1000 AD that Icelanders should be Christian but be allowed to practice heathen traditions in secrecy.

Even though Icelanders haven’t been openly pagan since the establishment of Ásatrúarfélagid in 1973, the nation has upheld heathendom knowingly or unknowingly.

This is, for example, evident in Icelanders’ loyalty to heathen names. Throughout the centuries the Norse gods, like Ódinn, Thór, Freyr, Týr, Baldur, Sif and Freyja, have lived on in their namesakes.

What’s even more notable is that Christianity and paganism have merged in names like Kristrún, the first part honoring Christ and the second referring to the heathen magical runes. Better keep both sides happy.

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