Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Hallinglag Cometh

As promised, I am now prepared to discuss the briefly referenced "Hallinglag" of a previous post.  Are you ready?  Promise?

In case you couldn't tell from the name of my blog, I am of Scandinavian heritage.  Specifically, Norwegian and Swedish.  Most of the Norwegian line comes courtesy of my father and his family. 

Conveniently for me, both sets of grandparents descended from immigrants who came over from the same region of Norway.  This region is called Hallingdal. 

For further street cred, I have actually BEEN to Hallingdal.  While it is a beautiful place, it is certainly not the most wild and bustling corner of the world.  It's pretty much in the middle of Norway, in a valley that has been forged by a river running down from the mountains.  The region itself is rather "hilly" and is full of treacherous "switchbacks" that can provide hours of carsickness for the uninitiated (not me, of course). 

Pride in heritage is something that most people are familiar with, or so I believe.  Obviously, as time wears on and people become increasingly ethnically diverse, it may become more difficult to claim and cling to one particular line of heritage, but for me it is not yet to that point.  For generations older than myself, it is even easier.

This brings me to present day events.  Or wait, is there still time for a bit more history?  Great.

So, as part of an effort to keep the tradition and connections to the "old country" alive, ancient relatives of yours truly helped to found and create a club for people who came from Hallingdal to the United States.  Here is some news for you:  a LOT of these people settled in the Midwest of the U.S.  I am talking about Minnesota (of course), Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and even maybe Wisconsin (if I'm feeling nice).  This should give you a hint of where this club usually met.

How far back does it go?  Well, I don't have my official records here right now, but I do know that they were meeting as far back as the early 1900's in scenic Brooten, MN.  Nowadays, the club continues, but in a more geriatric form.  My grandfather and many of my great-aunts and great-uncles have proudly participated over the years.  They publish a monthly magazine (Hallingen) for members (like my father) and hold a yearly gathering called the Hallinglag. 

For years, I have perused the Hallingen with mild interest and expressed little or no desire to attend the Hallinglag.  My grandfather has attended and has even bought me souvenirs - including solje - to try and lead me to have an interest with no luck.

OK, so NOW we are in the present.  It all started when my uncle announced that he was coming home from Arizona in June specifically to attend the Hallinglag with my grandfather.  Of additional interest to note is that my grandfather turns 85 this summer.

For some reason still not completely clear to me, I came to the conclusion that it would be an excellent idea for me to make my debut appearance at the Hallinglag this year.  Of course, there were some stipulations - mainly that I would not have to share a hotel room with my grandfather.  When I ran this idea past my parents, it was met initially with shock, but after that the feedback was positive.

So to bring this all together, I will be attending the Hallinglag in Fargo, ND this summer with my grandfather, uncle and father.  Oh, and I am pretty sure that some other relatives will be there too.  I am taking bets now to see who thinks that I will be one of the youngest people there by at least 20 years.

I really have no idea what to expect for this, but I do know that I will be touring a sword museum at some point and possibly doing some sort of folk dance.  Oh, and I will finally get a chance to display my solje.  Too bad no one ever bought me a bunad to go with it.  I guess a girl can't have everything.

As a final note, if you don't know what some of my odd words mean, do the research.  Google usually works just fine.

Until then, I need to get back to my exciting journal articles for my upcoming papers.  Plus, my dog seems to need some attention.  Priorities are important, dontcha know.

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