Although some may not look forward to the fanfare of NYE night (as I recently read in this article) I really cherished ringing in 2016! I was treated to a true Danish nytårsaften (New Year’s Eve) with fyrværkeri (fireworks), gløgg and, of course, singing all thanks to familiemedlemmer (family members) visiting from Denmark!
After the sparks faded and the last song was sung (alright, maybe not the last song, you know the Danes there is no such thing as too much singing!) we talked and reminisced for hours. Mormor was over the moon to see her closest childhood kusine (cousin) again, and I loved hearing the stories they told about their time growing up in Denmark. Many of us had never met, or it had been such a long time. We all agreed that the start of a new year is a very special time and we were glad to be spending it together.
Auld Lang Syne was on heavy rotation during our NYE celebration, though not Scandinavian (it was a Scottish poem written in 1788) it means “for (the sake of) old times”. However, it’s meaning did not truly become relevant to me until this year. After hearing Mormor reminisce about old times growing up in Denmark, as well as learning first-hand about holiday customs and traditions from my extended family, I was really inspired to find out more about my heritage. I am excited to see what lies ahead from a genealogy perspective in 2016!
Speaking of, have you seen this interactive Nordic migration map from Expedia Danmark? It tracks the movement of people from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway to parts of the US between 1870 and 1960. It really is fascinating to see the progression, and decline, of Nordic people here in the US. I suppose that when you are from a country that is known as one of the happiest places on earth you may want to go back as well. Have a guess as to which decade had the highest number of Nordic people living in the US? Find out here.
Finally, although most of us are back to our arbejdsdage (working days) by now, I’ve been informed by my Danish familiemediem (family) that in Scandinavia today is known as Helligtrekongersdag (“Holy Three Kings Day”). Also known as Epiphany, the Christian festival celebrating Jesus Christ’s divinity, it is believed to be the day that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger, in essence, The 12th Day of Christmas. As I delve deeper into learning about my heritage, it seems I am also learning so much more about my culture and the origins of many of my traditions as well. After all, as a child I thought The 12th Day of Christmas was just a song. But, then again, I guess there really is always a reason to sing.
Skål (cheers) to many new adventures (big and small) to you in 2016!
Enter this months giveaway to win a copy of the book The Year of Living Danishly! A delightful read that will keep you entertained indoors as you wait for spring to arrive!
From Amazon.com: “When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn’t Disneyland, but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries.
What is the secret to their success? Are happy Danes born, or made? Helen decides there is only one way to find out: she will give herself a year, trying to uncover the formula for Danish happiness.”