Creating housing for common people

30 04 2023

Don’t miss the Fika meeting at 1:30 PM Saturday May 13, 2023 at Martin Luther Lutheran Church, 9235 West Bluemound RoadMilwaukee located just east of Milwaukee Zoo. The meeting is open to the public. Program…

Kjell Forshed, Swedish Architect & Consultant.

Former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist will present a program about Kjell Forshed, Swedish architect who is focused on urban development creating housing for common people, with the aspect of social interaction. John Norquist is now the John M DeGrove Fellow at Florida Atlantic University and Adjunct Professor at DePaul University Real Estate Program.

Then there is fika.

After the presentation join our traditional Fika where we together enjoy coffee and treats brought in by our members and other guests. Would you like to prepare some authentic Swedish dishes?  Check out the Food Heritage Main Food tab on our website,  Several members have shared their favorite recipes as well as their memories of those dishes. You will find links to the dishes presented at last September’s program, “Exploring Our Swedish Food Heritage,” as well as favorites from recent Fika meetings, such as Risgrynsgröt (Rice Pudding), and Chokladboll (No Bake Chocolate Balls).  Do you have a favorite Swedish recipe that you like to share? The list will keep growing as we keep enjoying Fika together in the Swedish way!

Glad Påsk

7 04 2023

Happy Easter in Swedish is Glad Påsk. Easter is a real family celebration in Sweden. They celebrate Easter somewhat differently than it is done in the US. They don’t have an Easter bunny but Easter witches, they play jokes with each other and they also get time off on Good Friday.

Holy Wednesday, or Dymmelonsdag is the Wednesday before Easter. The word doesn’t seem to translate literally but would be something like “joke Wednesday”. Similar to “April fools!”, The Swedes say: “April april din dumma sill, jag kan lura dig vart jag vill“. (April, April you dum herring, I can fool you in any way I want)

At Easter, Swedes decorate eggs and hang colored feathers on Easter branches in their homes. Children are given a colorful paper egg with candy inside.

Easter witches. On Holy Saturday (the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday) the children dress up as Easter witches and go from door to door. They sing songs and hand out drawings. In exchange, they are rewarded with sweets. So the current Swedish Easter Witch is a cute and friendly witch and not a scary witch as in the middle ages.

The Easter witch tradition is said to date back to the Middle Ages when hundreds of women were executed in Sweden for witchcraft. It was once believed that the witches flew on their brooms to Blåkulla Island on Maundy Thursday to meet with the devil. On Holy Saturday there are many Easter fires that, according to tradition, were supposed to keep the witches at bay.

Easter meal. Most of the Easter buffet are egg dishes. Furthermore, herring and salmon are served and sometimes Janssons frestelse, Jansson’s temptation..

In Sweden, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are official holidays.

Related Swedish vocabulary

  • Happy Easter: Glad Påsk
  • Maundy Thursday: Skärtorsdagen
  • Good Friday: långfredagen
  • Holy Saturday: påskafton
  • Easter witches: påskkärringar
  • Twigs with colored feathers/easter twigs: påskris

Happy Easter from Swedish American Historical Society of Wisconsin, Inc.


1 04 2023

Scandinavian Design FIKA meeting

The program topic for the SAHSWI 2023 March FIKA meeting was Scandinavian Design and based on the exhibition Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890–1980 which is being held at Milwaukee Art Museum from March 24 to July 23, 2023. SAHSWI Vice President John Elliott introduced a discussion held via a podcast from the Swedish House in Washington DC where Monica Obniski, previous Demmer Curator of 20th and 21st Century Design at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Dag Blanck, Professor of North American Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden, presented and discussed Scandinavian influence of design in the 20th century. The podcast presented started at the 37th minute and ended at the 1hr 17th minute of the YouTube link below. (To hear Dag’s presentation of Swedish American Relations in the 20th Century use the same link starting at 22nd minute)

Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890-1980

Monica Obniski organized the exhibition together with her colleague Bobbye Tigerman of Los Angeles County Museum of Art and in collaboration with the Nationalmuseum in Sweden and the Nasjonalmuseet in Norway. Please find below Milwaukee Art Museum invitation to the exhibition and special program presentations.

State of Wisconsin Historical Marker fundraiser

The SAHSWI project to honor the history of Gustaf Unonius, New Upsala and the Scandinavian Parish with a State Historical Marker is now under final review by the Wisconsin Historical Society. In order to cover the cost of the marker a fundraising campaign has been launched. Gustaf Unonius was the leader who arrived at Pine Lake in 1841, together with other early settlers arriving the following year they established New Upsala, the first Swedish Settlement in Wisconsin, and together with other Scandinavian immigrants and Episcopal missionary the Scandinavian Parish was established. Today this history lives on in the St Anskar’s Episcopal church in Hartland, Wisconsin. Please find below a link to the project donation page:

Donate to historical marker