JCC To Host Scandinavian Culture Day Events Saturday

Children are pictured at a past Scandinavian Culture Day event.

Scandinavian Culture Day on Saturday, besides regular workshops, will celebrate the Scandinavian traditions of Easter. Semlor will be served during the break at 10:30 a.m. The marzipan and whipped cream filled cardamom buns were traditionally served on Fat Tuesday. Now in Sweden, one can find them in bakeries right after Christmas. Culture Day is the only place in Jamestown where one can sample one of the buns. Coffee and Swedish lingonberry drink will also be served.

One will also be able to make Swedish Paskris or Norwegian Fastelavnsis. These are birch branches decorated with feathers and sometimes colored egg shells or small Easter witches. This is a way to bring the brightness of spring into the home. The branches when placed in water will continue to bloom.

Tradition says that on the Thursday before Easter, the witches fly to the mountain Blakulla to covert with the Devil. Swedes then built bonfires to scare the witches away on their way back. Now, children dress up like witches with shawls, rags and oversized clothes as well as paint their faces. These children then go from door to door with a copper pot begging for treats. In Sweden, these children dressed up as Easter hags is called paskkarringar. At Culture Day, children will be invited to dress as paskkarringar and walk around the event begging for treats. One can bring their own clothes but some will be available. Adults are urged to bring some loose coins to be shared with the children.

Most of the regular workshops will also continue for the morning. There will be children’s folk dance and adult dance instruction, Swedish language class, craft workshop, cooking demonstration and sampling of farina torte, knitting, Norwegian painting, genealogy, a book study group about Per Fogelstrom’s fifth book in his series covering the history of the Swedish people (copies are available for purchase), Swedish weaving, hardanger embroidery and more.

The folk costume group will display three costumes from Finland and a child costume from Dalarna, Sweden along with books about folk costumes. It is a great place to gather for a morning cup of coffee and fellowship with friends (Fika).

In addition to the Easter witches and folk dancing, the Swedish school for children, led by Susanna Ecklof and Maria Malmstrom, will meet as usual. This is an opportunity to pass along the Scandinavian traditions.

The Thule Lodge Swedish Adult Folk Dance Team will be traveling to Sweden in the Fall to perform and practice with other teams. As a fundraiser, the dance team will conduct a bake sale and offer korv burgers on rye buns with lingonberries during Culture Day.

Culture Day is held in the Hamilton Collegiate Center of Jamestown Community College. It begins with coffee at 9:30 a.m. and workshops commencing at 10 a.m. It is free and open to the public. No registration is required. For more information call 665-0883.