Not so long ago I lived for long weekends – an extra day to enjoy with family, friends, and, perhaps, a little stitching!

Today – since retirement – these are not so special. Oh, we still like to get together with family and friends but the anticipation of the long weekend is not the same. However, there is always an exception and for us it's the August long weekend. We follow a tradition set many years ago in my family:  going to Gimli, Manitoba for the Icelandic celebration – also known as “Islendingadagurinn”. It's a weekend that celebrates Icelandic culture and heritage and I'm a good Icelander!

I have gone to this celebration almost every year since I can remember. My family would make the journey to get together with “distant” relatives and friends. Often we'd only see this branch of the family at this gathering. We lived on the west side of lake Manitoba and Gimli is located on the west side of Lake Winnipeg (a fair distance to drive in those days). It was a great time for picnics and sharing with each other stories of the events of the previous year.  Today, some family members and friends still meet and enjoy all the activities the Icelandic Festival weekend has to offer. There are the usual rides, craft vendors, a parade, and swimming at the lake. Icelandic food such as Vinatarta can be purchased at the Fairgrounds. Other events include a speech from the President of Iceland and Icelandic choirs singing songs in their mother tongue.  Listening to them speak brings back floods of memories. I rarely hear the Icelandic language spoken these days so this is very special.

We are so lucky to have many of these types of festivals around Manitoba each summer.  One of the largest is Folklorama, held every year in Winnipeg. Various pavilions host interested participants with song, dance, and food native to their land.

I have attached some pictures from the Icelandic celebration.  Local people dress up and inhabit a village reminiscent of the original settlements.

Guards at entrance to the village
Leader of the Village

Haming it up at the parade

Two young ladies knitting mitts

I hope you are able to take in a summer festival in your area and that you enjoy all that these fun events have to offer.  You may even get a peek at some traditional needlework!

1 comment:

  1. This looks like tons of fun Beryl. I'd love to try the different foods and see the costuming.


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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

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