Saturday, June 1, 2013

June is a Swede's favorite month

I say this in all honestly. Two of their big holidays fall in this month, the main one being Midsummer; a holiday that celebrates the sun and sensuality and the continuation of life. And drinking. Mustn't forget drinking.

Then there is the Swedish National holiday on 6 June. Let me gather my thoughts for a moment....this holiday is a little slippery. Before the 1980's it was the Swedish flag day. Before that or possibly concurrently (I'm having difficulty with the timeline) the day celebrated the foundation of the modern Sweden. By modern I mean it celebrates the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523. That's right. Apparently if it's post-Viking/post-Dark Ages then it's modern. Boggles this mind, let me tell you.

But back to 6 June. Wikipedia, bastion of knowledge, tells me that the election of King Gustav Vasa ended the period of Danish rule, so it's kind of a Swedish independence day even though it happened at the end of the dark ages and once you've been independent for that long it kind of loses its novelty. What we need to keep sight of here is that it's a day that was celebrated but wasn't an actual holiday where everyone takes off work and fires up the grill and drinks too much. Until 2005, when the government in its infinite wisdom replaced Whit Monday (which was an actual holiday and always falls on a Monday) with the holiday on 6 June, effectively guaranteeing that about twice a decade 6 June would fall on a weekend and no one would get a free day off. People were dismayed, I hear.

So my June has a few Swedish holidays on the calendar which I'm looking forward to. Dancing in the parking lot at IKEA on midsummer doing my best to look like I know what I'm doing won't be quite as terrifying this year. On the 6th we'll meet with the other Swedes in Florence and have an aperitivo and they'll all stand up and sing the National Song and embarrass their significant others in the bar.

My calendar also has a few extra Swedish things, like softball on Sunday. I have no idea if it will resemble American softball, but I'm sure there will be snacks and wine and at one time I was a fairly awesome softball player so why not?

This month will also be filled with Swedish visitors. Truth is they're all coming this week (so far) and I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Dinner tonight with one friend to talk about wine and cycling. Dinner tomorrow night at our house with cycling people Leif knows well and I know not at all. But cyclist are easy to feed. They'll eat anything, in whatever quantity I have. Never a leftover. Monday a new friend comes to stay overnight. You guessed it, a cycling friend. Thank goodness for Thursday, where there will be Swedes but probably not a single cyclist in the group. (Leif and I don't count.)

I know that I won't wake up next Sunday speaking Swedish but I think the chances are pretty good that this week I'll learn a few new words and hear a few that still live on in out-state Minnesota.

Got you curious, don't I? What words, Michele? OK, short example. Many Minnesotans (and midwesterners in fact) pronounce the word for as fur. People I've met here have told me where I'm from after hearing me speak just a few words sometimes. Translate the word for into Swedish and you get för, which is guessed it....fur. So in Minnesota your ethnic background could be Germanic or Scandinavian or any other country in the world but if you grew up there chances are you pronounce for exactly like everyone else does. Like a Swede.

No comments:

Post a Comment