Collaborations of Abstraction

A Halloween lesson courtesy of the Swedish and Norwegians

Posted on: November 2, 2009

This weekend Brett Farve and the Vikings beat the Green Bay Packers. For those not familiar with the nuances of the upper Midwest, Wisconsin and Minnesota might seem to be similar, if not identical, states. However, from the food (cheese curds) to vocabulary (A water fountain is a bubbler? What?!?) to the sports teams, we are two very different states, even if we are neighbors.

I also had my first international Halloween in Norway this weekend. The party had attendees from the U.K., Norway (of course), Sweden and the U.S. Halloween really isn’t celebrated in Scandinavia, but it was my friend’s birthday and she had spent the last five years in the U.S., so we were donning costumes!
Ever since I read that the Dutch Santa Clause is from Turkey and beats bad children with socks full of coal, I’ve been curious about how holidays are celebrated in other countries. At dinner I talked with several Swedes about this, and the tradition of Easter came up. Apparently in Sweden, Easter is more like Halloween. They wander around their neighborhoods asking for candy, and according to folklore the witches fly up to Blåkulla (Blue Mountain) to meet with the devil. (It should come as no surprise that Sweden is one of the most atheist countries in the world.)
Later in the evening I was talking to a few Norwegian guys and the topic of holidays came up again. I started talking to them about the Easter customs of Sweden, and I kinda assumed (I know, I know!) that Norway’s were similar. They looked at me like I was crazy. Witches meeting the devil? When I finally got around to saying I got the information from the Swedish girls, it made perfect sense to them.
I guess I should have taken a note from my own playbook and realized that similar locations do not mean similar ideas. Just because someone grows up in one area, it doesn’t mean they have the same ideas as everyone else from the region. And just because one country or state is geographically similar, it doesn’t mean they have the same culture, food, language, or favorite sports teams. 

1 Response to "A Halloween lesson courtesy of the Swedish and Norwegians"

Very good read Rebecca.

It is something i have known for a long time mainly because i have seen the differences between Ireland and Wales, yet on a clear day they can see each other, To look back at the old festivals and how traditions are different and also the same is a tough task because of the spread of Christianity but there is still some traditions that exist, some of which i practiced this year that i had not done since leaving Wales

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Collaborations of Abstraction

Two close (though, unfortunately, not in proximity) friends – a Welsh man living in Ireland and a Minnesotan woman living in Germany – come together to share musings, wit and random things of interest in this journey called life



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