Denmark is not only the oldest kingdom in the world today, it also has the world's oldest flag, the Dannebrog, red with a white cross. As the oldest flag in Scandinavia, the Dannebrog provided the pattern for the other Scandinavian flags. According to legend, it descended "as a sign from heaven" in 1219, turning defeat into victory for the Danish crusaders. The Dannebrog celebrated its 780th anniversary in 1999. The Danes use every festive opportunity to fly their flags and this year's Midsummer Festival will be no exception.
The Danish Canadian Society, also known as Dania, was formed in Edmonton in 1921 by a group of Danish people who were interested in keeping their heritage alive in Canada. As a society, Dania strives to promote Danish heritage among the descendants of those early members and those who arrived from Denmark since the 1920's. Throughout the year, Dania sponsors various activities, which include: two dinner dance nights offering traditional Danish foods of course with Danish Aquavit; an annual June fishing derby and horse-shoe competition weekend at Vasa Park, Pigeon Lake; an October dinner and dance featuring a Danish menu; and a Children's Christmas party in December. These dances are open to non-members, but some activities require a membership in Dania.
For more information about Dania:
Please call Sandra Jensen at (780)451-9588 or Bent Scousbol at (780)456-7695
FINLAND - Finnish heraldry dates to the 16th century. Battle flags were displayed on equal basis with the Swedish armed forces during this period. When Finland became a grant duchy under Russia, it was allowed the privilege of flying its own flag, similar to the present day flag of a blue cross on a white background. The present standard was adopted in 1918 after Finland's independence from Russia. The blue signifies the sky and lakes of Finland and the white, a blanket of snow.
THE FINNISH SOCIETY OF EDMONTON
The Finnish Society of Edmonton, now consisting of about 140 members, was organized in 1953. Its purpose has always been to cultivate and cherish Finnish culture, customs and language. The inherent love the Finnish people have for the outdoors is manifested in the annual fishing derby held at their lakeside property, where everyone enjoys their genuine Finnish sauna baths. Other events include Vappu Dance in May, Christmas Party and Juhannus (Midsummer) Festival in June. Information about Finland and Finnish culture is provided through Demonstrations and exhibits of literature and crafts. For membership or further information:
Pasi Karsten-432-1981 Or: Jaana Ohinmaa at (780)484-0208 or Anne Sahuri at 489-7515
Finntasia Choir is a choral, dance and drama group from Edmonton, Canada, devoted to performing the music of Finland in both Finnish and English.Finntasia Choir
ICELAND - The modern Icelandic flag came into existence in 1915. For Icelanders it is like a vision of their country's landscape. Of the three colors of the flag, the deep blue signifies the ocean, the red the fire and the white the ice. The cross symbolizes the Christian faith, which the Nordic people have shared over a millennium. In the sign of the cross, the colors of the Icelandic flag united in a harmonious triad.
THE ICELANDIC CANADIAN CLUB OF EDMONTON
Edmonton’s original Icelandic Club was organized in 1934, and operated under the name Icelandic Society of Edmonton from 1976 to 2005. It is the Norđurljós (Northern Lights) chapter of the Icelandic National League. It strives to keep Icelandic cultural heritage alive through an ethnic choir (Saga Singers), newsletter, language classes, invited speakers and musicians. Traditional functions include a fall supper (Leif Eriksson Day), Christmas party, Thorrablót (Þorrablót) in February, Sumardagurrin fyrsti (strawberry tea) in April, an annual Alberta Icelandic Picnic (ĺslendingamót) in June. The picnic is held in Markerville, home of the famous Icelandic Canadian poet Stephan G. Stephansson. The nearby Stephansson House is a fully staffed provincial historic site. Icelandic food is sold in the Kaffistofa (coffee shop) in the old Creamery, another historic site. Thorrablót (Þorrablót) is an annual dinner and dance event where favorite Icelandic foods and special entertainers are featured. During this program, the new Fjallkona (Maid of the Mountain) is presented to the guests. The Saga Singers perform at club events in authentic Icelandic costumes, and act as goodwill ambassadors at other public functions. Anyone interested in joining this choir contact: Gloria Krenbrenk at ( 780 ) 458 5896 For club membership and information: please call Glenn Benson at ( 780 ) 469 5505
NORWAY - The Norwegian flag, first approved for use by merchant ships in 1821, became the national flag in 1898. The red field bears a blue cross super-imposed on a broader white cross. The cross reflects Christian tradition, which began in Norway about the time the Viking period ended. Norway was united with Denmark for more than 400 years under the Danish flag, then transferred to Sweden at the end of the Napoleonic wars. Norwegians had several grievances, one of which was that they had no flag. In 1821, they decided to have their own flag.
SONS OF NORWAY SOLGLYT LODGE #143
Sons of Norway, organized in 1913, is a fraternal organization of men, women, and children of Norwegian birth, descent, or affiliation. Its aim is to preserve, maintain, and promote interest in all that is good and noble in the Norwegian national heritage. It is international in scope with lodges in Canada, United States and Norway. Solglyt Lodge #4-143 in Edmonton now has over 220 members. Regular monthly meetings feature cultural presentations and a social time for members. Some of the main events include: January lutefisk dinner, May 17th Norwegian flag raising and banquet, June barbeque, and a Family Christmas Party with singing around the Christmas tree. Solglyt sponsors workshops for rosemaling, hardanger and ethnic cooking in Edmonton, and takes part in the one week Trollhaugen Language and Cultural Camp in August, featuring Norwegian language instruction, cooking, woodcarving, crafts and folk dancing. An annual Alberta-Saskatchewan midwinter winter games weekend is an occasion for interlodge competition in curling, bowling, cross-country skiing, walking and whist, along with social interaction. Members have an opportunity to join the Curling League for weekly games. Ladies' Sewing Club members meet monthly to enhance their Norwegian needlecraft or cooking skills, and Solglyt Husflid meets to work on crafts once a month. A Norwegian conversation club and a book club meet out side the monthly meetings and Torskeklubben, the men's club, meets monthly for a cod fish and aquavit dinner, with topical guest speakers featured. For more information about Solglyt Lodge:
SWEDEN - The Swedish flag is a yellow cross on a light blue field. There are many reasons for the Swedish flag being blue and yellow. They are the outstanding colors in the northern land. The flowers, the lakes, yellow cornfields against the blue of a summer's sky and the blue eyes and blonde hair of the girls. There are the same today as when the flag was first raised above Swedish soil.
VASA ORDER OF AMERICA, SKANDIA LODGE #549
The Vasa Order of America is a cultural fraternal organization for people of Swedish or Scandinavian descent with lodges throughout Canada, United States and Sweden. Skandia Lodge #549 is the local lodge in Edmonton, which was organized in 1929. Monthly meetings provide an opportunity to socialize and to learn about Sweden. Several activities are held every year to promote and preserve the Swedish culture and traditions. Vasa Park on Pigeon Lake is the site of a midsummer celebration, a Pea Soup and Pancake Brunch, several summer socials, and a Cultural Heritage Camp for Children. Vasa members can compete for university scholarships, as well as participate in sports competitions with other lodges within the province. Active groups associated with Skandia Lodge #549 include Ladies's Auxiliary, the Past Chairmen's Club, and the Vasa Pioneers No. 12, an activity club.
For further information:
Please call Ray Nyroos at ( 780 ) 469-8286 or Lennart Petersson at ( 780 ) 469-0259.
THE VALHALLA SCANDINAVIAN FOLK DANCERS
The Valhalla Folk dancers were formed in 1984. Their first performances were at the 1985 Edmonton Heritage Festival and they have continued their appearances there as well as in many other locations. The purpose of the group is to preserve Scandinavian culture in the form of traditional dances, music, and costumes, representing each of the five Scandinavian countries. The group continues meeting Thursday evenings. Enjoyment in folk dancing is foremost and performing is voluntary. If you are interested in becoming a Scandinavian folk dancer, please call
Stan Johnson at ( 780 ) 483-8232 or Bud Baadsgaard at ( 780 ) 439-4605.
History of Scandinavian Heritage Society