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Iceland’s foreign minister to speak at the Deuce of August

Photo: Stefan Jonasson


Thousands of eager people will descend on Mountain, North Dakota, during the first weekend of August for the 118th annual Deuce of August Icelandic Celebration. The town has been known to swell to a hundred times its normal population on this weekend of the year as descendants of the original settlers and visitors from miles around join residents for this signature heritage celebration.

Those who arrive before the weekend itself can take advantage of the Icelandic Roots Genealogy Center on Thursday and Friday afternoons (see below) and then join the Mountain Legion Fish Fry on Friday, August 4, at 5:00 p.m. Afterwards, there will be a street dance with music by Boom Town.
Saturday is the “big day” at the Deuce of August and it opens with a parade down Main Street beginning at 10:30 a.m. This year’s honorary parade marshals are Vilmar Kristjanson and Norma Nason. Coverage of the parade will be broadcast live on KXPO AM 1340. Following the parade, there’s a salad luncheon at Vikur Lutheran Church, the Car Show and Shine, kid’s games, and the Pedal Tractor Pull. Merchandise will be on sale along throughout the day.
Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Heritage Program in the Mountain Community Center on Saturday, August 5, at 2:00 p.m.  . . .


Canada 150 celebrations in Iceland a big success

Photo: Ásta Sól Kristjánsdóttir

Author: Kent Lárus Björnsson, Reykjavík, Iceland

We started celebrating when most of Canada was still asleep – well, especially Winnipeg and westward. We were fortunate to get to use an area at Árbæjarsafn, the Reykjavik Open Air Historical Museum. We were even able to fly the flag, which is not that frequent a sight in Iceland. The Canadian flag only flies at the embassy, the ambassador’s residence, and Hofsós.
The Canadians and friends have held a number of casual, family-friendly Canada Day events, but we felt this year should be special. One of the main instigators in pushing for a bigger event was Þór Jakobsson. He arranged the first few meetings and was involved all the way. In an un-Icelandic way, we actually had a number of meetings and discussed plans with each other and delegated work amongst ourselves.
We had some great corporate sponsors and we were very grateful for that. The Icelandic National League of Iceland, WOW Air, and Vodafone, the telecom and internet company, were the main sponsors. The Canadian embassy also stepped up, supplying refreshments, flags, and pins for everyone. I was also able to borrow a hot dog van from one of the gas companies, Atlantsolíu. We could not have done much without them.  . . .


The greatest saga never told

Image: © Howard David Johnson

Author: Peter Johnson, Winnipeg, MB

To most people, the word Edda is a four-letter word they find in their crossword puzzle.
The amazing fact is that the Icelandic Eddas are one of the world’s greatest cultural treasures because they contain eighty-five percent of what we know as Norse mythology, which was the shared wisdom that informed the Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, and Scandinavian people for centuries in pre-Christian Europe and which continues to influence our lives to the present day.
Some people may be surprised that the Anglo-Saxon world is included, but we can appreciate the power of these myths on the English-speaking world when we realise that four of the days of our week are named for Norse gods, about whom we would know almost nothing if it were not for the Eddas.
Tuesday is named for Tiews, who Icelanders know as Týr, the god of justice and courage. A story in the Eddas tells us:
There was a terrible supernatural wolf named Fenrir. The gods knew Fenrir was growing at an unnatural rate and would soon be too powerful for them to control and that he would wreak havoc and chaos throughout the nine worlds.
The gods devised a plan to tether the mighty Fenrir.
They asked the dark dwarves, being the most skilled craftspeople in the cosmos, to forge a chain whose strength could not be equaled.
They then challenged the wolf to test his strength against this chain. The wary wolf, suspecting trickery, said he would only allow himself to be tethered if one of the gods would put his or her hand between his powerful jaws. Týr placed his hand between the jowls of the terrible wolf. When Fenrir realized he had been tricked he ripped off Týr’s hand and swallowed it whole. For the wellbeing of the cosmos, Týr had sacrificed his hand.  . . .




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