Event takes a liking to Vikings

Old World traditions found new devotees Saturday as the Edgar Grieg Lodge of the Sons of Norway hosted St. Hans Day festivities at La Cañada Flintridge's Lutheran Church of the Foothills.

Sheyna Niles, 17, hung four different-colored cotton strands from a ceiling beam and worked with a friend to knot a Viking whip cord, the two handing bobbins back and forth to weave the durable rope. Niles said she first learned the technique at a craft camp this summer.

Judith Vinje, the lodge’s cultural director, said the event offers a rare glimpse at traditions that are nearly forgotten, such as Viking bowling. In the game, opponents toss sticks at small towers made of wooden blocks. The rules forbid overhand tosses.

Patricia Hamilton, one of the event organizers, said St. Hans’ celebrations go back to the 1700s, when Scandinavian settlers arrived in northern Canada and trekked down to what is now the upper Midwest and northeastern United States.

The event takes place around the time of the summer solstice.

“In Norway we celebrate the summer of light, a bit into the midsummer, which is the longest day of the year,” said Margaret Shuler, a lodge member. “We have these events for the kids once or twice in the summer and other cultural programs about Norway.”

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