The Scandinavians never pass up a chance for a good bonfire. Midsummer Night, or St. John’s Eve as it’s sometimes called in Denmark and Norway, is the perfect occasion. The holiday has little to do with St. John the Baptist, other than falling just before his saint day. In the 10th century Baltic and Scandinavian countries replaced the traditional names of Midsummer with allusions to the feast of St. John the Baptist, which …Read more
“So weareth summer: Uspak rideth to the Leet and halloweth it; and when harvest comes, he fares to the fells when men go after their wethers, and they were brought in well, for the searching was careful, and no sheep were missing, either of Odd’s or any other man’s.” — The Story of the Banded Men, ancient Islandic saga
Summer is here, and few appreciate that fact more than the Icelanders. On June …Read more
St. Urho statue, Menahga, Minnesota
St. Patrick is world-famous for driving the snakes out of Ireland, but the day before St. Patrick’s Day we celebrate an oft-overlooked saint named Urho, who is said to have performed the equally admirable feat of ridding his Finnish homeland of hungry grasshoppers, thus saving Finland’s all-important grape crop, and the Finns themselves, from devastation.
Plaques proclaim St. Urho’s glory, including one in Minnesota that describes the annual ceremony in …Read more
You may be aware of the United States’ 13-year experiment with prohibition back in the, well, Prohibition Era (1920-1933).
But it is a testament to the stout-hardiness of the Icelandic people that they kept up their beer ban for over five times that long: a full 75 years. Iceland was beer-free between 1914 and 1989 — a time period that roughly mirrors the entire existence of the Soviet Union.
The beer ban was finally repealed …Read more
Far north in the Salten Fiord By rapine, fire and sword Lives the Viking, Raud the Strong; All the Godoe Isles belong To him and his heathen horde…
With rites that we both abhor He worships Odin and Thor So it cannot yet be said That all the old gods are dead And the warlocks are no more…
Tales of a Wayside Inn by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When King …Read more
Today is Anna’s Day in Sweden, during which Scandinavians honor all those born with that name, which is about a third of the population.
What’s the reason behind or the purpose of Anna’s Day, we have no idea, but right now in Scandinavia it’s dark 20 hours a day, so who would blame them for throwing in as many December holidays as possible?
Today’s the day Scandinavians begin preparing the Swedish delicacy lutefisk, to …Read more