While Nordic organizations around the country are transitioning to more and more in-person events, there are still many virtual ones to enjoy!
February is a month to bring awareness to the only indigenous group of Europe, the Sámi. Saturday, February 6, is Sámi National Day celebrated by the indigenous peoples of Sápmi, an area consisting of land in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. The first Sámi National Day was celebrated in 1993. It commemorates the first Sámi congress which was held February 6, 1917, in Trondheim, Norway, when Sámi from Norway and Sweden met to discuss common issues. Sámi National Day didn’t become an official flag day in Norway until 2003. (If you’re interested in more information on the history and culture of the Sámi, visit Life in Norway’s “The Sami People”.)
Marking the day has become increasingly popular with celebrations and programs not just taking place domestically in those countries but also abroad. In the virtual community this month, there are many online events – celebrations, a movie screening, book events, craft workshops, presentations, and more. Look for events marked with ❤️💙💛💚. Happening now in Tromsø, Norway, is Sámi Week (January 31-February 6). Highlights usually include an Arctic Market, the Norwegian Championship in Lasso Throwing, and the Norwegian Championship in Reindeer Racing, but unfortunately they are canceled this year due to national restrictions. View pictures from previous years here.
And finally I share an in-person event for readers in the Los Angeles and New York City areas. Today the Norwegian Oscar submission for Best International Feature, The Worst Person in the World, opens in limited release in theaters in Los Angeles and New York. Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang calls it “a funny, melancholy dazzler from Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier… [a] charming, wistful, ineffably tender movie… It’s time well spent.” Will you see it, or have you already?
Which events look intriguing to you this month?
Join Scandinavia House in New York, NY, for a virtual literary talk with bioarchaeologist Dr. Cat Jarman to celebrate the release of her new book River Kings: A New History of the Vikings from Scandinavia to the Silk Roads out on February 1, 2022, from Pegasus Books. Learn about an epic story from the Viking Age that traces the historical path of an ancient piece of jewelry—found in a Viking grave in England—to its likely origin thousands of miles east in India. Update: The virtual talk is available now for streaming.
Norway’s national TV station NRK celebrates Sámi National Day with celebrations from all of Sápmi. This recorded program is in Norwegian and Sámi, but you’ll still enjoy the unique joik music, traditional Sámi dress and jewelry, and impressive landscapes. View the program now.
Join a Facebook Live virtual celebration of Sámi National Day. During the celebration, enjoy some of the Sami National Day celebrations taking place outside of City Hall in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, learn more about Sámi National Day, and enjoy a performance by Sámi artist Sara Ajnnak. The celebration will also include an introduction to the new exhibition Arctic Highways, which is currently on its way over the Atlantic to make its world debut at House of Sweden, Washington, DC, next month before continuing to tour North America and Europe.
This month, Scandinavia House’s Nordic Book Club will be discussing The Book of Reykjavik: A City in Short Fiction, an anthology edited by Becca Parkinson & Vera Juliusdottir, which was recently discussed by authors and translators in a virtual panel.
Join Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Rock Island, Illinois, to discuss The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Finnish author Anu Partanen.
Älven min Vän (The River, My Friend) is a portrait of the lives of four Sámi women and their relationship to the Lule River in Sweden. The film shows the consequences of the forced resettlement of Sámi people who were displaced from their land because of the construction of river dams and were alienated from their indigenous culture and way of life (such as reindeer husbandry, clothing, language, food and music). At the same time, the film shows the deep relationship between the women and the river. Register for this free event and receive a link to the movie. Then join the Zoom event to meet the director Hannah Ambühl.
The Scandinavian American Cultural & Historical Foundation in Thousand Oaks, California, invites you to a virtual presentation presented by Prof. Thomas DuBois of University of Wisconsin-Madison to learn about Sámi traditional dress. There are clear norms about how Sámi dress in different regions of Sápmi – the areas of Norway, Finland, and Sweden where Sámi people traditionally reside. But the actual components of the dress vary and they are often made at home by family members rather than purchased from a professional seamstress. This presentation will explore the ways the Sámi use dress to express their identity and the many variations and expressive choices that come into play. Particiaption is free. Registration is required.
Vill du ha mer svenska i ditt liv? Häng med på Fika på svenska! Vi träffas virtuellt på den andra lördagen varje månad och diskutera ämnen kring det svenska språket, svensk kultur, historia och mer. Kom och prata svenska med oss! Fika på svenska is a conversation table held entirely in Swedish every second Saturday each month. New topics each month explore Swedish language, culture, history and connection to Minnesota.
Join Vesterheim in March for some family fun and learn some Norwegian language along the way! Through hands-on activities, fun crafts, light-hearted games, and short videos, you and your family will learn and practice your new Norwegian skills. A kit will be delivered right to your home containing supplies for these language activities, a helpful reference sheet for all the new words and expressions you will be learning, a fun craft, and a yummy snack. The adventure starts on March 1 and will focus on Oppdagelsesreisende, the Norwegian word for explorers! Register by February 15.
American Scandinavian Foundation invites you to a virtual panel on Duodji Reader: A Selection of Twelve Essays on Duodji by Sámi Duojárat and Writers from the Past 60 Years, produced by Sámi Allaskuvla / Sámi University of Applied Sciences and Norwegian Crafts. Edited by Gunvor Guttorm and Harald Gaski, Duodji Reader explores the Sámi duodji, the artistic crafts form of the Indigenous people of the European Arctic, through essays written by 11 prominent Sámi scholars, duojárat, and writers from North, South, and Lule Sámi areas. Duodji demonstrates a holistic circle of creation, how nature and humans collaborate in recognising, visualising, and shaping items that serve the need for both practical use and aesthetic form.
Explore a selection of Danish literature in English translation with a new nationwide book club. Each month a celebrated Danish author will be selected and discussed in two virtual settings: Book Club group discussions and accompanying Literary Events. This month’s selection is The Liar (Løgneren) by Martin A. Hansen. The Book Club group discussion will take place Tuesday, February 15, 5:00 p.m. PT. The accompanying Literary Event is unscheduled at this time.
Dr. Maren Johnson, Luther College’s Associate Professor of Nordic Studies and Torgerson Center for Nordic Studies Director, facilitates a monthly bokprat at Vesterheim, discussing Scandinavian authors and Scandinavian life. Henrik Ibsen remains the second most often played playwright in the world behind William Shakespeare. Join Vesterheim this month for a conversation about the play A Doll’s House, significant at the time for the way it addressed the fate of a married woman living in a male-dominated culture.
Cook up a Friday dinner at home with this fun virtual class! Grab some family members or friends to prep and cook a menu of Swedish meatballs, plus potatoes, lingonberries, quick pickles and a super simple dessert in two hours. Patrice will offer both a meat based and vegetarian version of the main course, and she’ll talk about the differences between Sweden’s preferred meatballs and those from other Scandinavian countries – you may be inspired to seek out even more versions after class! This class is designed as a cook-along experience, perfect for cooks who want a few extra tips and tricks while tackling a classic Swedish meal. This class is sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.
Join The Nordic Heart‘s book club to discuss the first half of book 2 in The Emigrant Novels series by Vilhelm Moberg, Unto a Good Land. Book 2 opens in the summer of 1850 as the emigrants disembark in New York City. Their journey to a new home in Minnesota Territory takes them by riverboat, steam wagon, Great Lakes steamship, and oxcart to Chicago County. Considered one of Sweden’s greatest 20th century writers, Vilhelm Moberg created Karl Oskar and Kristina Nilsson to portray the joys and tragedies of daily life for early Swedish pioneers in America. His consistently faithful depiction of these humble people’s lives is a major strength of The Emigrant Novels.
In these online classes hosted by Vesterheim, instructor Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen will share tips and tricks for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing quickly and safely and discuss how to care for your knives. Best of all, at the end of the class, you’ll have a delicious Nordic soup and salad prepped and ready for dinner. These classes are sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.
Learn about the history of different types and styles of Norwegian sweaters, including Setesdal, Fana, Marius, and Olympic from textile expert and Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson. Laurann will also discuss the symbolism behind some of the patterns and colors on sweaters made today. This is an open meeting of the Washington D.C. Sons of Norway Lodge. Visitors wishing to attend should contact Bill Deroche at programs@norwayDC.org for a Zoom link .
Join Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson to explore the immigrant experience through stories associated with artifacts in Vesterheim’s collection. Between 1825 and 1980, nearly one million Norwegians left for new lives in America. She’ll discuss the reasons for leaving, what they brought, and where they settled. This is an open meeting of the Denver Iowa Public Library. Visitors wishing to attend may contact Kelly Platte at email@example.com for a Zoom link.
This online demonstration hosted by Nordic Northwest in Portland, OR, will warm your heart. It’s the perfect time for the wintery and hearty Norwegian meat and potatoes soup “Lapskaus”. Learn how to make this traditional recipe, along with options to suit your particular taste buds. This demonstration features Broder Söder’s chef along with Nordic Northwest’s Cook & Eat committee. Whether you have made this recipe for years or are brand new to it — you won’t want to miss the opportunity. You will appreciate an “ancient classic” that is still relevant and practical today.
For the month of February, Nordiska will be celebrating Sámi National Day (February 6) by reading Barbara Sjoholm’s book Black Fox: A Life of Emilie Demant Hatt, Artist and Ethnographer. Though she was not Sámi herself, Emilie Demant Hatt became closely acquainted with a variety of Sámi cultures during her travels in Sápmi, the Sámi’s traditional territory, in the early 1900s. Emilie Demant Hatt lived an extraordinary life which has been retold by Barbara Sjoholm in this first English-language biography.
The Nordic Lights Film Festival is devoted to celebrating Nordic cinema—this year, once again, virtually. All films are available to watch during the run of the festival. You may choose your own viewing schedule but once you start a film, you will have 72 hours to finish it. Full schedule and individual tickets will be available in early February. Some of the feature films have been geo-blocked by their production companies and will only be viewable in Washington State.
This online class meets in two sessions, first from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and then 1:00-2:30 p.m. CT. Once the provenance of a single holy day, Fat Tuesday, Swedes now enjoy semlor from Christmas until Easter. These sweet, yeasted buns are perfumed with cardamom, stuffed with marzipan, filled with whipped cream, and dusted with powdered sugar, a real treat. Join Erin for a baking day from your own kitchen. Start by mixing and kneading the dough, then step away from your devices while the yeast does its work. After lunch, return to shape, bake, fill, and decorate semlor. Finish with a fika in true Swedish style.
The murals in Vesterheim’s Gathering Room were created in 1999 by Norwegian rosemaler Sigmund Aarseth and Iowa rosemaler Sallie DeReus. The murals are an example of interior painting, relatively common in Scandinavia, in which every surface is decorated. The murals are inspired by the primstav, a calendar stick widely used in Norway during the Middle Ages. The initial purpose of the primstav was to help keep track of Saint’s days and the church year when Christianity was adopted in the eleventh century. Over time, however, the primstav acquired worldly calendar associations that had to do with seasonal agricultural and domestic activities. Vesterheim’s Martha Griesheimer will give this online presentation in an open meeting of the Boulder Sons of Norway group. Everyone is welcome! Visitors wishing to attend may contact Erik Sirnes for a Zoom link: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Club: Antiphony (February 26, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT, Free) ❤️💙💛💚
The Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois, hosts a book club that reads a wide range of books from the Nordic countries. The February read is Antiphony by Laila Stien translated from the Norwegian by John Weinstock, a novel about a woman who goes to Northern Norway and becomes acquainted with three generations of Sámi women.
It is that time of year again to celebrate the Danish tradition of Fastelavn! Native Dane and baker extraordinaire Leda Jessen is ready to bake the traditional yummy Fastelavn buns together with you. You will be sent a list of the ingredients needed prior to the event, and together with Leda you will bake the day away.
In this online class of three sessions over two days offered by Vesterheim, you will learn to make a Sámi-inspired, iconic, three-strand braided bracelet using traditional materials of reindeer leather, pewter thread, and a reindeer antler button. The pewter is nickel-free and contains 4% silver. Each session will be accompanied by a short video that will help you see the hand-work techniques up close. In between each session, you will have time to complete the steps that instructor Norma Refsal has discussed and demonstrated before moving on to the next part of the bracelet construction. The three class sessions are Saturday, February 26 (12:30-2:30 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT) and Sunday, February 27 (1:00-2:30 p.m. CT). This class is sold out but you can be added to the waitlist.
Join Scandinavian School in San Francisco for a discussion about the book Psalm at Journey’s End by Norwegian author Erik Fosnes Hansen.
The acclaimed Nordic cooking instructor and self-proclaimed “Nordic Food Geek” Patrice Johnson has prepared an inspiring winter Nordic-style meal that will have your family and friends salivating as you reveal this creative menu! Join this intimate cooking class to prepare an appetizer of brandade (Nordic style), a seasonal soup (apple, pumpkin, squash, or gjetost with cider), plus rye crisps, a special surprise dessert, and a cocktail/mocktail to pair with the delicious food! As you are cooking, Patrice always shares her extensive knowledge of Nordic cuisine, revealing both the history of these dishes and her own personal family traditions along the way. The cooking class is sold out but you can join the waiting list.
Want to plan your reading for next month? Here’s a look ahead at virtual book events in March.
- Monday, March 14: Hotel Silence by Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir, tr. from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon (Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center in Illinois)
- Tuesday, March 15: Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors, tr. from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra (National Danish Book Club)
- Wednesday, March 16: Searching for Nora: After the Doll’s House by Wendy Swallow (Vesterheim Bokprat)
- Saturday, March 19: Unto a Good Land by Vilhelm Moberg, Book 2 of The Emigrant Novels, tr. from the Swedish by Gustaf Lannestock (The Nordic Heart Bokklubb Book Club)
- Saturday, March 26: Pakkis by Khalid Hussain, tr. from the Norwegian by Claudia Berguson and Ingeborg Kongslien (Swedish American Museum in Chicago, Illinois)
- Thursday, March 31: The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women by Nancy Marie Brown (Nordiska Book Club)
And finally, Vesterheim Folk Art School registration for April through June 2022 opens on Thursday, February 10, at noon (CT) with new online and in-person classes in rosemaling, woodworking, metalworking, jewelry, cooking, fiber arts, weaving, and heritage and language, plus special youth and family programming. They can’t wait for you to see what’s in store, so they’re sharing the class schedule now so you can start making your February 10 registration plans.
Which events or experiences look interesting to you?
Be sure to visit previous months’ listings of virtual Nordic events. Many of the events are now available to view as saved recordings.