Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Þorrablót 2002

The Annual Þorrablót will be held on February 16th at the Swedish Museum on 5211 N. Clark Street, Chicago (tel. 773-728-8111).

The Blót will commence at 6.30 pm with hors d'oeuvre, hákarl, brennivín and cocktails.

Approximately one hour later we will move to the main floor where traditional Þorra Icelandic food from Bautinn, Akureyri and American food from Wickström's catering, will be served.

This year, we will enjoy the company of the Icelandic band and entertainers "Hundur í óskilum" or “Missing Dog”. The band has become increasingly popular for their funny and entertaining performances and is now on it’s first tour overseas.

We will finish with sing along with the Þorra-choir, home made desserts, our famous raffle, welcome the speaker of the night, and then clear the floor for dancing the night away.

Ticket price at the entrance is $50 for members, $55 for non-members, $25 for children 6-15 years, children 5 years and younger are free of charge. Tickets bought in advance are $45 for members and $50 for non-members. Advance purchase of tickets must be made before February 4th. Please, make checks payable to the Icelandic Association and send with the form below, to Sonja Johnson, Treasurer, 6105 N.Glenwood Unit 2, Chicago, Il, 60660. If you have not paid the membership fee, please do so now and send in the census form as well.

We have a special deal with The Chicago Lodge on 920 West Foster, walking distance from the museum (tel.773-334-5600). For the rates, simply tell them you are with the Icelandic Association of Chicago. Parking is at Clark and Foster, on side streets and at the bank one block north of the museum, no permits are needed.

Yes, we (I) will attend the Þorrablót 2002

Member (s) Adults Children

Non-member(s) Adults Children

Enclosed: $

Sunday, December 23, 2001

December 2001


We have a response from our Ambassador and the Icelandic Government

As you may remember the topic of my last epilog was the “absence” of an active Icelandic Consul General for the Midwest. Well, we did get some response. Our ambassador, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson in Washington, DC, contacted the government back in Iceland who has agreed to point a new vice council general for the Chicago area. This is great news and we hope to find a good candidate who is devoted to the Icelandic community and its affairs. We will keep you posted.

Following a very good General Meeting we met at the Museum of Science and Industry to decorate our Christmas tree. It was a festive time and the best turnout we have had in years, around 20 people and lots of children. We can proudly say that our tree is beautiful and has a great location right in the center of the museum. The formal opening for the “Christmas Around the World” was held November 20 – A festive reception attended by five members from our organization. We have posted new pictures from these events at our website, www.simnet.is/chicago

Looking to the future, we are planning a Christmas party for the children, which should be a lot of fun and Santa will be there. Our annual Þorrablót will be held on the 16th of February at the Swedish American Museum on Clark Street in Chicago. As always, there will be dancing, Icelandic and American food, Raffle, and Brennivín (Black Death). The Þorrablót is definitely the highlight of the year with usual attendance of 70 to 80 people. This year we hope to see you all and, of course, we welcome new members and guests. Until then, enjoy the holiday season.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Einar Steinsson, President

Association Affairs

From the Editor

Since the tragic events on September 11, the poem September 1 1939 by W.H. Auden has been floating around on the internet. The poem refers to a war in another time but is a powerful message for the destruction and devastation of war in any time:

Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsesssing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

A translation by the same poet, W.H. Auden, of Völuspá or the Song of the Sybil, the ancient Icelandic rhyme, could be a description of modern terrorism:

Surt with the bane of branches comes
From the south, on his sword the sun of the Valgods,
Crags topple, the crone falls headlong,
Men tread Hel's road, the Heavens split open.

Earth sinks in the sea, the sun turns black,
Cast down from Heaven are the hot stars,
Fumes reek, into flames burst,
The sky itself is scorched with fire.

In addition to being a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, this is the time of reflection, where we rejoice over peace and harmony and the brighter sides of life. Before Christianization, Icelanders had “jól”, a winter solstice feast, after which the days began to become longer again. To this day, “jólin” brings us the hope that better times are ahead where the sun will shine brighter.

This Christmas, our thoughts are with our families and friends as well as those who are going through hardship and do not share our feelings of hope and joy.

Merry Christmas everyone or gleðileg jól.

Annual Board Meeting

The Annual Board meeting was held on October 28th at La Bocca Della Verita, an italian restaurant in Chicago. We reflected on the past year and what we would like to accomplish this year. Here is a summary of the agenda:

1. Annual Finance Report was reviewed and approved (see below). we had a negative income margin of $381.63 last year.

2. Board elected:

President: Einar Steinsson
Vice Presidents:
Stella Solis
Jon Hofteig
Sigurþór Heimisson
Treasurer: Sonja Johnson
Editor: G. Steinar Guðmundsson
Secretary: Sóley Runólfsdóttir
Auditor: Miguel Solis

3. Unchanged membership fee

Þorrablót, web-site, Christmas ornaments for the Science Museum and the Scandinavian Day were discussed.

Our Christmas tree at the Museum of Science and Industry

Come and see our tree. It is in very good location this year, right in the middle of everything. The tree will be up until January 13 2002 when we will take it down at 1 pm.


Þorrablót will be held at the Swedish Museum downtown Chicago on February 16th 2002. Preparations are in full swing. Mid-January we will mail a more detailed flier where you will be asked to répondez s´il vous plait.

Letters to the Association

The Iceland Minnesota Alliance

The Iceland Minnesota Alliance is priviledged to announce that we are the host organization for the 202 INL Convention to be held in Minneapolis - St. Paul on April 19-21, 2002.

We are extremely proud to announce that Vigdís Finnbogadóttir has accepted the invitation to speak at the Convention. This convention will be an exciting, fun and informative time. Please visit our website at www.frostbit.com/icelandmn for information about the Convention and an articel about Vigdis when she visited Minneapolis two year ago.

As everyone knows, the planning of an event like this is dependent on the anticipated number that will be attending. To aid in the planning, the Iceland Minnesota Alliance is asking all who receive this to e-mail us back as soon as possible if you or your Chapter - Association are interested in attending the Convention. This interest in attending is not binding but rather is a very important tool for us in planning the Convention. A brochure and formal registration form will be sent in the future.

We are trying hard to notify everyone interested about the Convention. Please fell free to forward this message to others or let us know of anyone who may be interested. If you have a membership list, we would love to have it in our database.

If you have a website, we would like to link to it and ask you to put a link to our website. Watch our website for a major update the first week in November. We will be putting on the website detailed information about the Convention and links to local sponsors.

We would like to hear from you. Contact us regarding this letter at:

Steingrimur Steinolfsson 2901 West 112th St., Bloomington, N, 55431,

phone 952-881-3326, fax 952-888-3392, e-mail: icelander@frostbit.com

“Hvað er svo glatt sem góðra vina fundur” “ There is nothing as good as a get together with good friends”

Letter from Sólarfilma (Sunfilm)

We have just now finished the updating of our Web Store, which we opened/started last winter. Sólarfilma offers more Icelandic souvenirs and postcards than any other company in Iceland. No one else offers color slides with pictures from Iceland, including some spectacular volcanic shots. All our goods are now on the web.

The most exciting articles we offer you NOW are our brand new special Icelandic Yule lads (Jólasveinar) -especially designed for Sólarfilma by Brian Pilkington. Eight of them are ready for delivery. The remaining + Grýla og Leppalúði will become available next year. Text is provided with each of the Yule lads.

For further details (for instance our X-mas mug) please see our site at .

News You Can Use

Icelandic Cinema

In the last issue of Farsælda Frón we mentioned that an Icelandic film “Ikingut” would be featured at the 18th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. The film received two awards on the festival. There are two panels of judges, children´s panel and panel only with adults. The former panel placed Ikingut as the second best foreign film and the adult panel chose the film to be second in the Best film category. This year 270 films from over 40 countries were shown. Ikingut has been featured on many international film festivals and won awards such as the best film on the International Chilcren´s Film Festival in Montreal, Canada.

Icelandic Guest Services in USA

Gúnni og Sóla have a Guesthouse in Colombia Maryland for traveler´s in the Baltimore - Washington D.C area. Transportation to and from the airport is included (12 miles from BWI), as well as evening snack and breakfast. Sightseeing tours are also available.

For details contact: Gúnni og Sóla, Heimilisgisting og AKSTUR, e-mail: solhlid@gisting.com or see more information on the world wide web at: www.gisting.com

Icelandic National League in North America

According to a newspaper article in Morgunblaðið, the 82. annual conference of the Icelandic National League in Vancouver last april was an important milestone in further strengthening the collaboration of all the Icelandic leagues in North-America. Next year the conference will be held for the first time in the United States, in Minneapolis. The conference in Vancouver was attended by 80 representatives from 16 Icelandic leagues from Canada, United States and Iceland. It is expected that more that 200 representatives will attend next year´s meeting in Minnespolis. In the article, Ray Johnson, president of INL disscuses the future of INL where he stresses the importance of introducing the league to all the Icelandic leagues in NA, since many do not even know of its existence. It is the role of the league to find a common ground for all the Icelandic organizations and communities in NA. There are currently approximately 2,000 members in various organizations within the INL and for the past 3 years there increased collaboration between the many organizations has been the main theme of the INL. Ideas such as exchange of students, teachers, and houses as well visits by artists and other members to different sanctions of the INL have been successful and will hopefully continue.

The annual meeting of the National League in Iceland was held in Reykjavík recently where Ray Johnson was the guest of honor. He is born in Manitoba but is of Icelandic descedent which he is proud of. He met with Halldór Ásgrímsson, secretary of state and Björn Bjarnason minister of education during his stay. He invitied Ásgrímsson to the conference in Minneapolis next year. Johnson has been an active member of the INL for the past 7 years, 3 as vice-president and 2 as president. Preparation for the conference in Minneapolis have been ongoing which he sees as a stepping stone to the future for the very much so important organization.

Remember, Annual Membership Fees are due January 6th.

Annual membership fees are due January 6, 2002. Please, send in the enclosed pre-stamped envelope a check made payable to Icelandic Association of Chicago. Annual membership fees are $25 for families and $15 for individuals/students.

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

September 2001


The Midwest has no active Icelandic Consul General!

For many years Icelanders and people of Icelandic heritage in the Midwest have not had an active representative. The Icelandic Consul General for the Midwest lives in Washington DC! And although the Vice Consul lives closer he could as well live in Timbuktu that is how enthusiastic he is about Iceland and Icelandic affairs. Repeatedly, we hear stories of newcomers or others interested in our country, culture, and heritage, who have difficulties getting information. Even those who manage to get a hold of the Consul or his partner have little luck because neither of them seems to bother to keep track of “Icelandic” activities or know names and phone numbers of the Icelandic Association’s members. More seriously, people run into problems when renewing or obtaining passports and when we visited the Vice Consul couple of years ago to cast a vote we felt like intruders who were disturbing a busy schedule of more important matters. This situation is shameful for Iceland, and many in our community are really unhappy, even mad. The Icelandic Association has been trying to help Icelanders who are traveling to Chicago, studying, or immigrating to the Midwest, but this work is becoming more demanding and more time consuming for Lena and me, as well as other members of the board. We will have to demand that the Foreign Ministry of Iceland does something to fix this situation. Various people have brought this to their attention on several occasions through conversations and a formal letter to the Icelandic Ambassador. We have not received any respond. It appears the matter is somewhat political and the current Consul General, who is Polish, supposedly got his post for helping Iceland lobbying whale fishing.

The Governor of Illinois, the Major of Chicago and other parties have invited me as the President of the Icelandic Association to some gatherings and social events, which Lena and I have attended. Our Scandinavian friends frequently comment that Iceland is being left out in Nordic-US relations and often bring up the absence of the Icelandic Consul General. Maybe, the Midwest is of no interest to the Icelandic government: after all it only hosts 50 million people, thereof 14 million in Illinois and 6 million in Chicago and its suburbs!

In any event, I feel that it is my responsibility to touch on this subject and, hopefully, the members of the Association will voice their opinion in this newsletter, at meetings or directly to the Icelandic Embassy or the Icelandic Government.

With a strong patriotic heart.
Einar Steinsson, President

From the editor

The 2001-2002 season in Chicago is filled with interesting events, whether you are into arts, music or sports. The Lyric Opera has a very impressive program this year, as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Few Icelanders will make their way into the heartlands to contribute to the arts. Bjarni Þór Kristinsson will debut with the Lyric Opera, Björk is coming this fall to perform at the Civic Opera Theatre with an orchestra and choir. A lesser known Icelandic alternative rock band, Sigurrós will play in Chicago late September. Break a leg, everyone!

Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson (b. 1962) has carved out an unusually impressive career as a novelist. Formerly the president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Olafsson is currently Vice Chairman of Time Warner Digital Media. His books have all become bestsellers in Iceland. I recently read “Slóð fiðrildanna”, published in Iceland 1999, which has now been translated and published in the USA as “The Journey Home” by Pantheon Books.

The Journey Home is a powerful and moving story of Icelandic destiny into the turbulent history of Europe in the mid 20th century. The main character, Ásdís Jónsdóttir, has for years run a smart country-house hotel in England. In the novel she must confront her past and return home to the Iceland, which she left 20 years before - in search of the life she turned her back on. I recommend this book for anyone, even if you do not have any ties to Iceland. This is excellent storytelling and a well-crafted story. I have never been a particular fan of Ólaf´s writing but this novel I can truly recommend. I wait in great anticipation what he might carve out for us in the future.

Scandinavian Day

Scandinavian Day was celebrated in Vasa Park in Elgin on the 9th of September. It was a rainy and gloomy day with some thunderstorms to make it even better. We sold our Icelandic flatbread with smoked lamb (flatkökur með hangiketi) with Icelandic Spring water and American Cola. The attendance was not as good as previous years, most likely due to the rain but we had a good time, flagged the Icelandic flag and signed up few more Icelanders and Icelandophiles to the association.

Annual Board Meeting

The Icelandic Association of Chicago’s annual board meeting will be held on October 28th at La Bocca Della Verita, 4618 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago at 5 pm. There is street parking in front of the restaurant and two city lots one block south and north of the place. The agenda will be:

Meeting commencement

Last year’s accounts reviewed

Board election

President election

Accountant election

Association fees


Website and newsletter


Meeting adjourned

Please, RSVP before 10/23/01 by phone (773.489.4621) or e-mail to Einar Steinsson (einar@karenzupko.com) if you will be participating in the meeting.

Christmas at the Museum of Science and Industry

This year, the annual Christmas tree will be decorated November 11 at 1 pm. Everyone interested in participating and helping out is welcome. The tree will be on display over the holidays along with trees from other nations. On January 13 2002 we will take the tree down at 1 pm, and again all help is appreciated.

Icelandic settlers´ churches in North Dakota are crumbling down

According to the Icelandic newspaper, “Morgunblaðið”, more than 400 of the still standing 2,000 19th century settlement churches in North Dakota are condemned and in danger of crumbling down. They have been placed on a list of eleven historical remains in the USA that are thought to be endangered. Icelandic settlers were among the ones who originally erected many of these churches

Letters to the Association

I am grasping at straws. I have been trying to trace my great grandmother Sophia Benson, who was born in Iceland, March of 1869. She married John T. Hurley and had three children, Helen born January 1889, James Bruce (my grandfather) born December 1890, and Benjamin born 1985 all in St. Paul, Minn. They settled in Chicago some time in the early 20th century. The 1920 census lists John T. Hurley and Sophia living at East 50th Place, Apt. 731. My grandmother had divorced James some time around 1917 and we lost track of the family. The census record was difficult to read, but I believe it listed Sophia as a nonresident.

I have a copy of the marriage license of James to his second wife, and he lists his mother as Sophia Benson, birth place Iceland.

I have joined the Iceland Genealogy Society, but the newsletter is in Icelandic!!!! I am planning to come to Chicago in March and go the Newberry to look for city directory and obituaries. Also, I plan to go to Iceland in the latter part of May.

I would appreciate any ideas you might give me to continue my search.


Barbara J. Brusseau
438 W. Wilmot Street
Chillicothe, IL 61523

Letter from The Great Canadian Travel Company Ltd.

This travel agency sent us a letter and a brochure where they offer tours to Canada, Northwest territories, Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Orkney & Shetlands, Spitzbergen, and Scandinavia. Their website is www.greatcanadiantravel.com and to see all of their Iceland Travel Product go to www.iceland-experience.com. Their brochure is quite impressive and many of their tours look intriguing. Check it out!

Lögberg-Heimskringla Subscription

The Lögberg-Heimskringla is North America´s oldest ethnic newspaper, published since 1886. Until 1959, there were two newspapers, the Heimskringla and the Lögberg, both of which were Icelandic language newspapers. The dominance of the Icelandic language in the newspaper continued with the amalgamation, but gradually became an English language newspaper, as the community it served lost its mother tongue. Today, there are bilingual headlines, and a Children´s Corner which always has some Icelandic language content.

The front page features news from North America and Iceland. The inside pages contain news and features from Icelandic communities across Canada and the Unites States, as well as editorials, letters to the editor, opinions, children’s corner, career column, food, travel, literary and the arts, family notices and calendar events.

The newspaper has offered the Icelandic Association of Chicago to sell subscriptions to its members. Subscription costst are in USA, Iceland and other countries: USD $54.00 per year, or CAN $ 81.00 per year. In Manitoba: $51.30 per year (includes PST), other Canadian provinces and territories: % 48.15 per year.

If you are interested in subscribing to the newspaper, please send a check for $54 to Sonja Johnson, treasurer, 6105 N. Glenwood unit 2, Chicago, Il, 60660.

Letter from Gullfiskur Ltd

We received a letter from Gullfiskur Ltd., which is a 10-year-old Icelandic company that specializes in making Icelandic dry fish (harðfiskur). They produce dry haddock and catfish, with and without skin and also produce so-called Gullskífur, whick are dry fish plates made from haddock fillets. The plates have become popular in Iceland. The company exports to Norway. They offer to sell their product to interested association members. Please, contact any of the board members if you are interested.

Icelandic Debut at Lyric Opera

The 2001-2002 Lyric Opera season includes masterpieces such as Otello by Verdi, La Bohéme by Puccini, Parcifal by Wagner and The Magic Flute by Mozart. The season opened up on September 22nd with Otello which will be followed by an original production “Street Scene” bu Kurt Weill. Bjarni Þór Kristinsson, native Icelander, will make his debut with the Lyric Opera in Parsifal which opens on February 2nd, 2002. This is also his first performance in an American opera production.

Björk in America

Following the release of her new CD, “Vespertine”, Björk Guðmundsdóttir, the most famous Icelander, will perform at the Civic Opera House with orchestra and choir on October 14th at 7:30 pm. Her special guest is Matmos. Unfortunately, the performance is currently sold out. She will also perform at the Radio City Music Hall on October 4th and 5th, Paramount Theatre, Oakland, California, on the 17th and at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in LA on the 22nd. Tickets are available for those performances.

Of note, Björk was on Dave Letterman few weeks ago where she performed a song from her new CD, “Pagan Poetry”. At the beginning of the performance Björk wound up a music box, starting the song. On stage with her was a women’s´ choir from Greenland, wearing national costumes, a harp player and two other musicians.

Icelandic Cinema

The 18th Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival will open on October 25th. This is the largest children’s film festival in North America. The Icelandic film “Ikingut”, directed by Gísli Snær Erlingsson and produced by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson, will be one of the films featured at the festival. The story takes place in a remote costal village in Northern Iceland where the fishermen are fighting for their survival as the harsh winter shifts pack ice towards the coast. The priest's son Bóas spots a small creature on a drifting iceberg believing that he's seen an evil spirit or a devil. But when Bóas is saved from an avalanche by the creature, a young boy from Greenland, they immediately become friends. Bóas's family takes him into their home, grateful for the brave rescue of their son. Meanwhile the superstitious local fishermen claiming that the strange boy is the cause to all their hardship demand that he be banished or even killed.

Another Icelandic film “101 Reykjavík” will be at the Music Box cinema this fall. The film is based on novel by Hallgrímur Helgason published few years ago. It was written and directed by Baltasar Kormákur, starring Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Hanna María Karlsdóttir, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Baltasar Kormákur and Victoria Abril. The film is named after the postcode of the Icelandic capital, where the main scenes take place, this is the story of Hlynur (Hilmir Snær Guðnason), the embodiment of geekness who, approaching the grand old age of 30, still lives with his mother, downloads cyberporn and wanders around Reykjavik half-heartedly searching for a job while spending lots of time in Kaffibarinn, the central Reykjavik bar which just happens to be owned by Baltasar Kormakur and his soundtrack composer Damon Albarn, a long-standing Icelandophile.

Sigurrós in VIC Theatre

The new Icelandic musical phenomenon, “Sigurrós” will be at VIC Theatre on September 27. Unfortunately, the performance is sold out.

Friday, May 25, 2001

May 2001


Gleðilegt sumar or Happy Summer.

The summer is the time of summer-festivals and Iceland's Independents Day. On the 17th of June, Iceland gained independence from Denmark. This is celebrated all over Iceland and in Chicago. This year we are going to be in Cantigny Park, same as last year. Last year we had a great time, around 50 people and the weather was very nice. I hope all of you can join us the 16th of June and bring friends and family.

The Þorrablót was a big success this year in a new location and "new" musicians. We lost some money but that is OK every once in awhile - we are a not for profit organization. Enclosed in this newsletter is the profit and loss statement for the Þorrablót prepared by our treasurer Sonja Johnson. We are in the process of looking for a place for next year's Þorrablót and we need your feedback, so please let us know what you think; same place, the Swedish American Museum, or any other place that will allow us to bring out food and drink.

After our get-together in Cantigny Park, the Scandinavian Day Celebration will be held in September in Vasa Park and we will be selling Lena's black-bread with Hangikjet - the smoked lamb many of you know so well. If the weather is nice, a day in Vasa Park is always great fun with a lot of activities. The format of the festival has changed this year and some of the Baltic countries will be participating for the first time. I hope to see all of you there in September.

Lastly, if you are interested in participating in our meetings and other activities that come up every so often between the formal gathering, the best thing is to be on my email list. Send me an email and I will let you follow our discussions and inform you of all our meetings. Your email will be safe with me and will not be given out to anyone.

Einar Steinsson, President
Email: lhallgri@students.depaul.edu

From the Editor

Greetings everyone,

Finally, after a rocky temperature roller coaster ride these last few weeks, summer has arrived in Chicago. More importantly, it seems to be here to stay. In light of the unbearable lightness of being of summer time, I will keep this short.

One of my favorite poems by the Nobel Prize author Halldór Laxness is about summertime and it's promise of better times. I would like to share that with you. Hopefully, I will be forgiven for my translation of one of the gems of Icelandic literature and no warrants made for my arrest for this atrocity.


Bráðum kemur betri tíð með blóm í haga
sæta lánga sumardaga.

Þá er gaman að trítla um tún og tölta á eingi
einkum fyrir únga dreingi.

Folöldin þá fara á sprett og fuglinn sýngur,
og kýrnar leika við kvurn sinn fíngur.


Better times soon arrive with flowers in bloom
sweet long days of summer.

Then it is fun to tread fields lightly and walk through meadow
especially for the young.

The foals will then gallop and the bird sings,
and the cows are in their highest spirits.

English translation GSG.


We would like to encourage everyone to check out our website. It has pictures from most of the events of the Association from previous years. There you can find more pictures from the last Þorrablót and some interesting links in regards to Iceland etc.

Scandinavian Day Celebration

And the celebrations go on and on. This is just a friendly reminder of the upcoming Scandinavian Day Celebration in September. It will be in Vasa Park and we will continue our efforts to make black bread with smoked lamb (rúgbrauð með hangiketi) part of the world cuisine. More detailed announcements regarding this event will be made at a later date.

We Still Need a Logo

We continue to look for ideas for a logo for the Association. All ideas are welcomed. In general a logo should be an original construction, simple and something that represents the association. Preferably, it should look good both in color as well as in black and white. If you have an idea, please contact any of the board members.

To Buy Icelandic Online

There are now available few links on the internet where it is possible to bye Icelandic products, ranging from foods to apparel to souvenirs. One is www.icelandicstore.com and another is www.buyicelandic.com. Check it out if you are homesick or just like to get a taste of the old country.

Thanks, Everyone!

The Association would like to thank everyone who donated their time and effort to the Þorrablót, helping to make it the success it was. Many of you donated prizes in the raffle, food and beverages. We thank you as well.

No Better Time Than the President

This year's Þorrablót was a blast and many welcomed the change of venue, the Gray's Mill in Montgomery. The date has been set for Þorrablót 2002, February 16. So mark your calendar, we plan to make at least as good as this year's, if not better.

Click HERE to see how we did for Þorrablót versus in past years.

* Catering and rent are together

Iceland´s Independence Day June 17th (16th)

As before, we will celebrate Iceland's Independence Day in June. Unfortunately, June 17th is on the same day as Father's Day. Therefore, it was decided to have our celebration the day before on the 16th. This was done to make sure that members who also wanted to do something special on Father's Day, would have the opportunity to go to our celebration as well. So, hopefully everyone will appreciate this arrangement and our initiative to change an Icelandic tradition to make way for an American tradition.

This year's celebration will be at Cantigny Park just like last year. Cantigny is located in Wheaton, Illinois, a western Chicago suburb, approximately two miles north of Interstate 88. We will have it picnic style, so everyone bring a picnic basket-nothing will be provided. Let's meet at 2.00PM at the main entrance. If you are planning to attend give Einar and Lena a call @ 773.489.4621. We want to see how many of you will be able to attend so we can plan on either meeting everyone at the gate or put up signs to lead the way to where we will be.

Thursday, January 25, 2001

January 2001


Iceland is “Cool” at the moment; we notice that everywhere we go: in the media, with friends, on the streets and even in the cinema (Björk Guðmundsdóttir playing Sandra in Dances in Dark and Englar Alheimsins and 101 Reykjavík shown at the Sundance Film Festival). Then again Iceland has always been “Cool”! Last week CNN’s website was dedicated to Iceland and PBS had a segment every day on Icelandic topics. In Britain Iceland is very much In and the same goes for many countries in Europe. This is good for the most part. Tourists visiting Iceland have never been as many, this year more than the total population and every year there is an increase of more than 15%. Occupancy rate at the hotels in Reykjavík is 95 – 100% for the summer months, a little bit less in the countryside. So when are you going to visit Iceland? Not that I have opened a travel-agency but there are some good deals to go off-season to Iceland – even though Icelandair still holds a monopoly between the States and Iceland. Icelandair has a club called “Lucky” were the deals are as low as $280 compared to summer prices which go up to $1,200 per person flying coach. Of course, the weather in Iceland is colder in the winter than the summer and the days are dark. Iceland is about 30 – 40 in the winter and 60 in the summer is a very good day. It can get colder but never as cold as Chicago when it is the coldest, so the phrase we commonly hear when people know we are Icelanders “o’ you must feel at home when it’s cold in Chicago” is untrue. It is rainier in Iceland, especially, in Reykjavík and surrounding areas, whereas in the North the difference between winter and summer is clearer, usually sunnier in the summer and snowier in the winter. The warmest it gets in Iceland in the summer is either in the East or South under Vatnajökli, the glacier. Enough of that, but weather is one of the most popular topics in Iceland and young people in a village called Dalvík even formed a Weather-Club.

We are receiving membership fees but only half of you have paid – if you have not done so please send the membership fee ASAP. Some of you have donated of your hard earned dollars to the association, for which we are thankful. It is good to have some funds in reserve if anything unexpected comes up. We will publish your name in the newsletter with our gratitude unless you ask us not to.

Þorrablót is coming up and we look forward to see all of you there. This year we have a new location, “new” musicians that come highly recommended, and “new” food.

Have a great year 2001.

Einar Steinsson, President

From The Icelandic National League of North America (INL of NA)

The INL of NA was established in Winnipeg, Canada 1919. Its objectives are to promote good citizenship among people of Icelandic origin and descent, to strengthen a mutual understanding of kinship, language, literature, and cultural bonds among people of Icelandic origin and descent in NA and the people of Iceland, and to maintain an active and viable association with individuals and organization which have similar objectives. The 82nd Annual INL Convention will be held in at the “Quay West”’ hotel in New Westminster, Vancouver, British Colombia April 26-29, 2001. The INL has asked us to encourage people of Icelandic descent to attend so they can experience and support the continuity of our heritage and culture. For further information contact: Ray Johnson, tel. 204.857.6469, e-mail rnjohn@mb.sympatico.ca or mail: Icelandic National League of NA 103-94-1st Avenue, Gimli, MB, R0C 1B1 Canada, Tel. 204.642.5897, fax: 204.642.9382, e-mail: inl@ecn.mb.ca

From the editor


One of the more interesting novels I have read is the two volume work of Böðvar Guðmundsson (b. 1939): “Híbýli vindanna” (Where the Winds Dwell) and “Lífsins tré” (The Tree of Life). This is a vivid description of the lives of 19th century Icelanders who move overseas to North America. The novel is very well written and based on thorough research. The description of the life of the poor and less fortunate in Iceland during these times is heartbreaking. The obstacles they face in their search of a better life, sometimes seem impossible to get past. In the end they reach Winnipeg and form a colony: New-Iceland. There they share the land with Native Americans and have to endure the extreme cold of winter, humitidy and mosquitos of summer and a Smallpox epidemic which almost wipes out the whole area. Ólafur fíólín, named after his only earthly posession, his violin, is one of the main characters. On his travels we meet other Icelanders who are trying to make the best of their lives as well. The second volume of the novel continues to tell the tale of Ólafur and his descendents and friends. For example, Ólaf´s son Jens Duffrín, who is named after an Icelandic thief and an English lord. He grows up with Mennonites and then joins an International Circus in Minneapolis. Most modern Icelanders who grew up in Iceland have distant relatives in America. Growing up I remember my great grandmother talking about her relatives in Canada and California, just as they were living next door. An occasional postcard or a letter, sometimes with pictures was received with great joy. I wondered why these people left and how things would have been different had life in Iceland made it possible for them to stay. I felt the novel of B. Guðmundsson greatly increased my understanding and insight into the life of the first Icelanders in America. I know an English translation of Where the Winds Dwell is currently available in manuscript for publishers but I am as of yet not aware of it being published. However, I am sure we will not have to wait for long. Further information can be found at www.mm.is/hof/eng/bodvargu.htm. At last here is a quote from a review from World Literature Today:

"Híbýli vindanna stands to date as one of the finest immigrant novels. Written with great sensitivity to the complexities of immigrant psychology, it is historically informative and accurate in its details. It is clear that the author has done an enormous amount of research on the emigration of Icelanders to Canada."

Farsælda Frón - The Icelandic Association of Chicago’s Newsletter. 1867 Tamahawk Lane, Naperville, Illinois, 60564. Editor: G. Steinar Guðmundsson, e-mail: steinargud@yahoo.com Associate editor: Katrín Heiðar.

Website: www.simnet.is/chicago Correspondence: The Icelandic Association of Chicago, Einar Steinsson, President 2212 N Rockwell St. Chicago, IL 60647-3004. Tel. 773-489-4621.


The Þorrablót will be held on March 3rd at the Gray´s Mill on 211 North River Street, Montgomery, Illinois (tel. 630.548.6755).

The Gray’s Mill is an old restored stone gristmill built in 1853, located on the picturesque Fox River in Montgomery. It is one of the most beautiful meeting facilities in the Western Suburbs and is listed on the National Register.

The Blót will begin promptly at 6.00 pm with gravlax, hákarl, brennivín and cocktails.

Traditional Þorra-food and American food from My Chef catering will be served.

Home made desserts and our famous raffle.

We present you the Icelandic music group “Hjónabandið” who we fly in from the West fjords of Iceland. Hjónabandið consists of Árni and Erna who are diary farmers at Vaðlar in Önundarfjördur. Árni and Erna have played at several Þorrablóts in Iceland as well as three times in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ticket price at the entrance is $50 for members, $55 for non-members, $25 for children 6-15 years, and children 5 years and younger are free of charge. Tickets bought in advance are $45 for members and $50 for non-members.

Advance purchase of tickets must be made before February 24th. Please make checks payable to the Icelandic Association and send to Sonja Johnson, Treasurer, 6105 N. Glenwood unit 2, Chicago, Il 60660. Tel. 773.743.2417. E-mail: MJOH44@cbot.com. If you have not paid the membership fee, please do so at the same time.

From East: Take I-290 W, then I-294/I-88 W exit # 15A, on the left towards INDIANA/AURORA. Merge into E West toll way. After 23 miles take IL-31 exit towards AURORA/BATAVIA. Turn right onto S LINCOLNWAY/IL-31. S LINCOLNWAY/IL-31. Turn left onto WEBSTER ST/US-30 BR. Turn LEFT onto N RIVER ST/US-30 BR. From West: On I-88 E take IL-47 exit. Turn RIGHT onto IL-47 for 7 miles. Take US-30 for 5 miles. Take the IL-31 exit towards MONTGOMERY/AURORA/OSWEGO. Keep RIGHT at the fork in the ramp. Turn LEFT onto S LAKE ST. Turn RIGHT onto WEBSTER ST/US-30 BR. Turn LEFT onto N RIVER ST/US-30 BR.

Gray’s Mill is close to Comfort Suites, the Hollywood Casino and Walter Payton's Roundhouse. We have arranged for a group discount at the Comfort Suites, $105 for king size bed. A room at this rate can be reserved after February 10 by mentioning the Association. Further information regarding Gray´s Mill and My Chef can be found online at www.mychef.com.