Today we went to the Rødøy Christmas Fair. The most striking thing about it is how similar it is to the Scandinavian Fair in Boston, or Chicago. Food is sold cafeteria style: traditional dishes, coffee, and cake. And tables of handicraft for sale, half of which are hand-knitted woolen stuff: gloves, hats, sweaters, etc. Between eating and shopping, people mingle and kids dart around. The finale is the raffle drawing.
These Christmas Fairs are a permanent fixture in Norwegian culture, so it’s no surprise that those who immigrated to America try to recreate them in their adopted country. I remember the Scandinavian Fair in Chicago served a combo meal called the “Uff-da Special.” “Uff-da” has the same meaning as “Oh-o”. I dropped the glass. Uff-da. My sister got divorced. Uff-da. Interestingly, although Uff-da is alive and well among Norwegian-Americans, it was an old expression that’s not used much in Norway today.
Of the roughly 150 people on the island, about 100 showed up. Kristin and I were among the merchants: we sold 2012 calendars made with the photos that I took around the island over the last few months. These calendars came in compact metal boxes that also function as stands. Although we sold quite a few, it’s not a money-making venture. I guess making money is not the main point for most of the sellers: the knitted goods mostly cost less than the yarn used to make them. The main point is to participate in the community, and raise money for the charity that organizes the event.