Keeping Christmas: Yuletide Traditions in Norway and the New Land

Overview

Few Norwegian Americans know the origins of the treasured customs they use to celebrate the holiday. Kathleen Stokker's Keeping Christmas: Yuletide Traditions in Norway and the New Land brings home the stories of these practices. Norwegian immigrants carried with them centuries-old folk traditions, which they held especially dear at Christmas time, remembering family members left behind. But in the United States, the immigrants and their descendants met the newly evolving traditions of the commercial American ...
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Overview

Few Norwegian Americans know the origins of the treasured customs they use to celebrate the holiday. Kathleen Stokker's Keeping Christmas: Yuletide Traditions in Norway and the New Land brings home the stories of these practices. Norwegian immigrants carried with them centuries-old folk traditions, which they held especially dear at Christmas time, remembering family members left behind. But in the United States, the immigrants and their descendants met the newly evolving traditions of the commercial American Christmas, a powerful homogenizing force in a nation of immigrants. And the celebration of Christmas in Norway continued to evolve as well, as the holiday - influenced in the twentieth century by American practices - became more child-centered and more commercial. Stokker describes and traces the development of folkways on both sides of the ocean, from their origins to their practice today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780873513906
  • Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Pages: 356
  • Sales rank: 1,430,834
  • Product dimensions: 7.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Norwegian Jul Meets the American Christmas
Pt. 1 Christmas in Norway
1 Roman and Viking Roots: How the Norwegian Christmas Began 3
2 Advent: Preparing the Way 18
3 Christmas Eve: The Focus of the Feast 61
4 Christmas Day and Romjul: Taking Time for Family and Friends 87
5 From New Year's Eve to Epiphany: New Beginnings as Christmas Ends 100
Pt. 2 The Norwegian American Christmas
6 Pioneers: Christmas on the Prairie, 1850-1900 117
7 The New American Christmas: Twentieth-Century Changes 157
8 Jul i Vesterheimen: Mirroring the Norwegian American Experience 197
9 Julebukking: Christmas Masquerading Norwegian Style 220
10 Lutefisk, Lefse, Rommegrot: The Culinary Emblems of Ethnicity 239
11 From Stagnation to Revival: Weathering the Twentieth Century 276
Notes 301
Bibliography 339
Index 347
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    Not just for Norwegian-Americans

    This book is a valuable addition to the collection of anyone who enjoys reading about Christmas traditions. Stoker traces the Roman and Viking roots to Christmas celebrations in Norway and their evolution among Norwegian-Americans. She emphasizes the importance of preserving ethnic heritage: ¿Americans find in ethnicity an antidote to the isolation that has grown increasingly acute in the wake of the massive suburbanization that began in the 1940¿s¿. Ethnicity fulfills the particularly American need for origins and belonging¿¿ Christmas is an ideal time to reconnect with one¿s cultural roots. As Stokker writes: ¿Incorporating change while retaining everything that makes it so beloved, Christmas holds within its vast and monumental embrace diverse individuals, families and cultures, allowing each a means of self-expression.¿ The ¿authenticity¿ of ethnic celebrations, however, is open to interpretation. Stokker writes: ¿When people no longer fear that their ethnicity may threaten their life chances, they can express it more freely. With greater time separating them from the Old Country, they can also feel less constraint about the way they choose to express their attachment to it. As a result, individuals and families increasingly create the content of their ethnicity, picking and choosing the items that they themselves find meaningful¿.¿ This book is a great read for Christmas or any time of the year.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

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