Þorri (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈθɔrːi]) is the Icelandic name of the personification of frost or winter in Norse mythology, and also the name of the fourth winter month (mid January to mid February) in the Icelandic calendar.
In the Orkneyinga saga (13th century), Þorri is an early Norwegian king, the son of Snær ('Snow') the Old, a descendant of Fornjót, an ancient king of Finland, Kvenland and Gotland. Þorri was father of two sons named Nór and Gór and a daughter named Gói ('thin snow, track-snow').
Hversu Noregr byggðist ("How Norway was settled", 12th century) states that the Kvens offered a yearly sacrifice to Þorri, at mid-winter. Both the month name and the name of the midwinter sacrifice, Þorrablót, are derived from the personal name Þorri. Orkneyinga saga by contrast states that the Þorrablót was established by Þorri.
The name Þorri has long been identified with that of Þórr, the name of the Norse thunder god, or thunder personified. Probably the Þorrablót was in origin a sacrifice dedicated to Þórr himself, and the figure of Þorri is a secondary aitiology derived from the name of the sacrifice. Nilsson thinks that the personification of Þorri "frost" and Goi "track-snow" was particular to Iceland.
The pagan sacrifice of Þorrablót disappeared with the Christianization of Iceland, but in the 19th century, a midwinter festival called Þorrablót was introduced in Romantic nationalism, and is still popular in contemporary Iceland, since the 1960s associated with a selection of traditional food, called Þorramatur. Regardless of actual etymology, it is a popular explanation of the name Þorri to take it as a diminutive of Þórr and it remains common practice to toast Þórr as part of the modern celebration.
- Georg Friedrich Creuzer, Franz Joseph Mone, Symbolik und Mythologie der alten Völker, besonders der Griechen, Heyer und Leske, 1822, p. 275.
- Martin Nilsson, Primitive Time-Reckoning; A Study in the Origins and First Development of the Art of Counting Time (1920), p. 301.
- Árni Björnsson, Icelandic feasts and holidays, 1980, p. 16.
- Andrew Evans, Iceland, Bradt Travel Guides, 2008, ISBN 978-1-84162-215-6, p. 29.