12 August 2012

Scandinavian Festival

Scandinavian Xing
Junction City, OR is a small farming town founded by Scandinavians. Every summer, a very few blocks of it are roped off for the inhabitants of nearby Eugene, and all the small farming towns in the area, to come stroll around in Scandinavian costume and watch demonstrations of Hardanger embroidery and rosemaling.

It is a small festival -- there are no major exhibitions of anything except folk-dancing, which is presented by the local children. Elderly ladies with very blue eyes sit in the shade tatting bookmarks. Elderly men with very Scandinavian faces sit in the shade and look on. One man made dainty bobbin-lace snakes. I saw no identifiable Norwegian costumes -I think most of the folkdrakt was generic- but I did see lots of Vikings, and a diminutive troll casting an admiring eye at the flower-wreath headbands for sale as it fought to keep its glitzy golden slippers on.
I will be a happy girl the day folkdrakt comes into popular fashion -- especially those flower-wreath headbands with ribbons hanging down: very elegant.

We got into a fair amount of "where in Scandinavia are you from?" with the older costumed locals. I had not anticipated that they would have the same curiosity about us: "You look like honest, valid Jews! I always wanted to meet one of you folks. I read the Bible a lot, you know, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, so much that I feel like I know 'em."

"Are you Scandinavian?" I asked one younger woman.
"Everyone in Junction City is an honorary Scandinavian for four days," she explained.

"Are you Scandinavian?" I asked another woman.
"No, I'm Jewish," she said.

My family actually is Swedish, but only since the 19th century.

No comments:

Post a Comment