February 2024: Virtual Nordic Events, Sámi Film Fest, & Nordic Spirit Symposium

February brings an interesting mix of in-person events for Nordic enthusiasts in Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City and online events for everyone.

Of special interest this month is Sámi National Day on February 6, an ethnic national day celebrated by the indigenous Sámi people across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Kola Peninsula in Russia. It is always on February 6, the date of the first Sámi congress in 1917 in Trondheim, Norway, when Sámi from Norway and Sweden met to discuss common issues. For more information on the history and culture of the Sámi, visit Life in Norway’s “The Sami People”.

If you or friends are in the New York City or Seattle areas, the 6th Annual Sámi Film Festival takes place in person February 9 and 10. Otherwise virtual screenings will be available nationwide from February 8-11. The program will include a variety of contemporary and historical Sámi features, documentaries, and short films curated by Liselotte Wajstedt, an award-winning Stockholm-based Sámi multimedia artist from Kiruna, Sweden.

This month also features the annual Nordic Spirit Symposium on February 9 and 10 at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA. This year’s topic is “Vikings: New Technology, New Discoveries.” Experts from Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden will join for an in-person symposium on recent exciting Viking Age discoveries. A top scholar from the Netherlands will embellish the program with a presentation about the Vikings in the Low Countries. Please note lunch and dinner must be ordered in advance. Registration for dinner ends February 1 and lunch ends February 4. For more details and registration information, visit the website or view the brochure.

Save the date for the Scandinavian Heritage Fair in Mission Viejo hosted by the Daughters of Norway, Turid Jespersen Lodge #44, on Saturday, April 20. There will be demonstrations of rosemaling, spinning, weaving, wood carvers, and wood burners, as well as a genealogy booth. Watch the preparation of foods such as aebleskiver, krumkake, lefse, and Norwegian waffles. Enjoy open-faced sandwiches, rømmegrøt, soups, kransekake, and other Scandinavian desserts. The fair will also feature products from Norrdesign T-Shirts, Norwegian Seamen’s Church, Karlsson’s Scandinavian Designs, and Joan Johnson Watercolor Cards. Admission is free.  See their flier for details.

What’s on your calendar for February?


Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: February 2024 to see details about book selections and meeting dates.

Introduction to Norwegian Genealogy (Thurs., Feb. 1 & Fri., Feb. 2)

Join the Norwegian American Genealogical Center in Madison, Wisconsin, for this online class. It is for those who are familiar with genealogy basics, but haven’t dug into Norwegian genealogical research yet. The class will focus on Norwegian naming traditions, history and geography along with strategies for reading old handwriting and finding where in Norway your ancestor may have originated. This class also includes a copy of their “Research Guide for Norwegian Genealogy: For Beginning and Experienced Genealogists.” This class is two days with different material presented each day.

Intro to Northern Sámi (Sunday, Feb. 4, 2:00 p.m. CT)

Are you curious about the Sámi language and culture? Are you looking for a quick and low-pressure way to get excited and prepare for an upcoming visit to the north of Finland, Sweden, or Norway? This two-hour introductory workshop taught by Áila O’Loughlin is the perfect way to learn some history of the nine living dialects of Sápmi, get a feel for North Sámi, pick up a bit of grammar and learn how to pronounce some words as part of basic greetings. Families are welcome!

Religion and Norwegian-American Quilts (Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7:00 p.m. CT)

Can you imagine a time and place without quilts? It may be hard to believe, but few Norwegians in the nineteenth century had ever seen quilts. Immigrants to the United States needed quilts for warmth and to help their homes look more American. Quilts from Vesterheim’s Textile Collection tell the story of the immigrant experience between 1860 and 1940. Join Vesterheim Chief Curator Laurann Gilbertson and the Northeast Iowa Quilters Guild for this presentation.

ASI Nordic Table: Scandinavian Chocolate Treats with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Feb. 8, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Very few of us can say no to a chocolate treat, and Scandinavians regularly end up on the list of top 10 countries for chocolate consumption per capita—so let’s join Kristi Bissell of True North Kitchen for an overview of their favorite classic chocolate bakes! From kladdkaka (chocolate gooey cake) to a few beloved cookies, and even an oven free chocolate treat, the chokladboll, Kristi will share tips and tricks for working with cocoa and chocolate to create satisfying and easy treats perfect for dessert or fika.

Virtual Sámi Film Festival (Feb. 8-11)

The 6th Annual Sámi Film Festival is a partnership between the National Nordic Museum in Seattle and Scandinavia House in New York City with virtual screenings available February 8-11. Virtual selections in the lineup include seven short films, with narrative and documentary subjects spanning topics ranging from traditional ways of life and cultural practices, historical traumas and conflicts in the present day, to alternative universes.

Ædnan Virtual Book Talk with Linnea Axelsson (Tuesday, Feb. 13, 11:00 a.m. ET)

Join Scandinavia House for a virtual book talk with Sámi-Swedish author Linnea Axelsson on Ædnan, her epic, August Prize-winning multigenerational novel-in-verse about two Sámi families and their quest to stay together across a century of migration, violence, and colonial trauma. The author will be joined by moderator Matilde Augusta Huseby for a talk about the writing of the novel. This event will be followed by a related online book club meeting at 6:00 p.m. ET (details).

Knife Skills in the Nordic Kitchen with Kristi Bissell (Saturday, Feb. 17)

If you’ve ever watched a cooking show and marveled at the speed that the ingredients get prepped, this class is for you! Instructor Kristi Bissell will share tips and tricks for slicing, dicing, chopping, and mincing quickly and safely and discuss how to care for your knives. Best of all, at the end of the class, you’ll have a delicious Nordic soup and salad prepped and ready for dinner! Enrollment deadline: Feb. 3 (spots available as of publication date).

Family Handcraft at Home: Wet Felting with Laura Berlage (Registration deadline Feb. 16)

Begins March 1, available all month! Using hand-dyed wool from the instructor’s sheep, learn how to both wet and needle felt over a bar of soap. Felted soaps are beautiful, and they will help your bar of soap last much longer too! Great for all ages. The kit comes with everything you need. This program has been designed for families to experience on their own schedules. Through a detailed video tutorial, Laura will take you step-by-step through the process from start to finish, with plenty of pro tips and invitations for personalizing your bar of soap. Roll up your sleeves, prepare to get sudsy, and enjoy this tactile-rich experience!

Intro to Sámi Knitting with Laura Ricketts (Sunday, Feb. 18, 10:00 a.m. PT)

The Sámi are Scandinavia’s only UN-recognized indigenous people and have a culture rich with fiber traditions. In this virtual Introduction to Sámi Knitting class, students will be introduced to traditional Sámi knitting, which was almost exclusively used to produce hand garments. Students will view many images of mittens from the instructor’s trips to northern Scandinavia and learn about the four characteristics that set Sámi mittens apart: cuffs, thumbs, decreases, and braids (with and without tassels). Students will create a sample swatch by practicing each of these elements and leave with the knowledge to translate their skills into a full-sized pair of mittens. Click here to learn more and view the class level and required materials list.

FamilieTid: Family Cook Along – Nordic Tacos (Sunday, Feb. 18, 11:00 a.m. CT, Free)

Join chef Patrice Johnson for this fun and delicious way to experience Scandinavian food culture. Tacos are a long favored Friday evening meal across the region, and families who love this tradition are finding ways to vary their beloved tacos. In class, students will dabble in traditional Nordic tacos and an Icelandic Skúffukaka (chocolate brownie cake topped with coconut).

Vesterheim Folk Art School Registration for Summer Classes Opens (Tuesday, Feb. 20, 12:00 p.m. CT)

Registration for online and in-person summer classes (April-September 2024) opens Tuesday, February 20. Get ready to register by checking out this PDF catalog of classes. You will find classes in Rosemaling and Painting, Fiber Arts, Design and Inspiration, Heritage and Language, Music, Weaving, Nordic Cooking, Knifemaking and Metalwork, Woodworking, Youth and Family, and Jewelry.

Scandinavian Flat Plane Figure Carving: One Blank to Rule Them All with Charlie Banks (Saturday, Feb. 24, 1:00 p.m. CT)

Join carving instructor and Vesterheim Gold Medalist Charles Banks for a lecture on Scandinavian flat plane figure carving and his creative process. In this webinar, Charles Banks will talk about the different figures and characters he has made all with the same starting blank, and what that means for the development of his creative process. He will discuss how he has used this simple blank to push himself to try out new character designs and poses. Come learn about how starting with one blank, a whole menagerie of characters can be made. Leave with the inspiration to start carving yourself!

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.