"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: New Year Traditions?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year Traditions?

Dear readers, as the old year closes, what are your New Year's traditions?

In Japan, some folks celebrate by attending a performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

My sister tells me there is a Finnish tradition of dropping molten lead into water to see what shapes are formed. That sounds fun.

On New Year's, my friend Heather makes Hoppin' John, a southern dish with blackeyed peas and bacon. I usually make Indian lamb stew, and if we feel like staying up late, we walk up to the park before midnight to watch the fireworks from the Space Needle.

Later in the month, we join friends for dim sum in the International District to celebrate Chinese New Year (a festive, colorful, very noisy time!).

Do you celebrate? Make special dishes? Make resolutions? (I'm tempted to resolve to gain weight this year, to see if reverse psychology works).


  1. Usually we get together with friends. Sometimes we make a night of it playing spades with a couple we don't get to see too often, or we'll join a friend's potluck party and watch the countdown in Times Square.

    This year the kids are all going different directions, so we're having my sister-in-law over for the last basting of our fruitcakes [a good excuse to get together] and we'll probably play some cards or watch a movie together.

    I'm not into the party scene, and drinking makes my head fuzzy--which I hate--so our New Year's Eves are pretty tame.

  2. Happy New Year, Everyone!

    My "tradition" is usually sitting at home bringing in the new year by myself. My husband has never waited up with me, as far as I can remember. For a number of years, maybe three or four, we went downtown for the fireworks/music at midnight, celebrating with several thousand strangers. There is something about being with crowds during that moment that makes it very special. SISU

  3. We've never done anything special on New Year's Eve. It just always seemed to be a good night to stay home and let the crazies have the roads! True to form, I think my wife made it to 10:30 that night and after watching a rerun of a Garrison Keillor New Year's Eve party from 2006 for awhile, I gave up at about 11 and toddled off to bed.

    I hope you all had a quiet and blessed Christmas. It was unusual for us as it was the "in-laws" turn to get all of the kids this year, so we had a very quiet household. We got together Christmas Day with good friends who don't have any kids and family is far enough that they couldn't go with the inclement weather. We had a great dinner and then played board games for a few hours and just generally has a very relaxing day. Of course we missed the commotion of last year with three kids, spouses, and dogs all here, but this was not bad either!

    I worked off and on with my family history project and entered a lot of new names. One thing about some of these OALC families with their ten kids and each of those kids with ten kids, it doesn't take long to enter a thousand new names! I now have one leg of the family back to 1690, another back to 1710, and the others back to the late 1700s. Now it's getting challenging as we get back to the days when Finns took on the name of the farm or locality they lived in/on, and changed every time they moved. You finally get back to things like "Seppalan Torpari Henrik Henrikinpoika" -- "Farmer Henrik Henrik's boy, who lived on the Seppala farm" -- until he moved to the Tuominen land and then became "Tuomisen Torppari Henrik Henrikinpoika", or some such! The old "Papintodistus" and other church records are invaluable -- But does my Finnish ever get a workout!

  4. Quiet New Year's here in the north. I think I was in bed by 10:30. Giving the slippery roads to others seems like a good way to go.

    I know some people who maintain the old tradition of melting tin, just for fun of course, but I have never done it. When I was in Finnish Lapland a few years ago I bought a "kit" which consisted of a little bag of little metal horseshoes and a little pan with a long handle to melt them in. I still have the "kit" and someday will actually use it. But first I need to find someone who will be able to "read" the results...

    CVow - I am interested in genealogy, too. Where are your ancestors from in Finland?

    Has anyone out there pursued having their DNA analyzed with regard to migration of their ancestors?


  5. Happy New Year to everyone!

    We don't have any New Year's traditions except usually going out to dinner, and rarely, if ever, making it to midnight any more. Very boring :-). It's too cold and there are too many people out doing crazy things - best thing is to be at home.

    Sisu, I'm doing okay, but just okay. Actually felt better the first week or so, and then my nerves sorta played havoc w/me.. jittery etc.. But that seems much better this week, and yesterday we actually made the trip up that stretch of highway w/our brother and sister in law and had a nice dinner out. Thanks so much for the warm wishes.

    I've seen those 'kits' at the Finnish American bookstore, but have never tried them...

    Just joined Ancestry.com last month, and hope to do some work on it shortly.. Found old census records going back to 1920's which I'd like to print out...

    Best wishes for a wonderful New Year to all!

  6. UsesscissorsonSunday, (love that handle!)
    Quite a few of my ancestors come from the Oulu area, others from Alastaro, and some from the east side.

    I have been using a program called Family Tree Maker, which is really friendly and you can do a lot with it -- attaching photos, stories, and other insights along with the standard Birth/Death/Marriage dates and places. It will also let you publish your work online -- encouraged actually, although I've not done that yet. I've had a couple of good contacts made and new information acquired because our daughter had published a basic set of the info online while she was in college and it was found by several relatives.

    I've done considerable research into some midwest Finnish communities, so if anyone wants to see if I can shed any light on their family, contact me through Free. Then we can make contact outside the forum.

  7. UsescissorsonSunday, I LOVE your moniker! I chuckled when I saw it, reminding me of a time my mom yelled at me for using scissors on a school project on Sunday. There I was, holding them in my hand, trying to cut without actually moving the blades up and down. How silly is that! SISU

  8. Hehe, I had to laugh, trying to use the scissors without moving the blades!!! I don't get it, not use scissors on Sunday? I don't think I've ever heard anything about that before...was that another of those crazy laestadian rules?

  9. It must have been. My mom had the same rule. It fell under the classification of "work", which was not okay to do on Sundays.

  10. That's interesting, I guess the "work" rule has gotten more lenient (sp?) over the years..

  11. Daisy is from the LLC (I think, from reading past posts). Maybe the others speaking of the scissors rule are from the OALC? Am I right? I was in the LLC, and I have never heard of a rule about not using scissors on Sunday. Maybe some families had that rule passed down from generation to generation within the family resulting from way back when the OALC and the LLC (AALC after splitting from the Finnish or First Apostolic) were one and the same.

  12. Hi again. My family came to the U.S. in the early 1870's and were part of the LLL movement in whatever the main group was called back then (changed from time to time). Legalism varied from family to family. There was definitely an OALC "flavor", whether or not there was ever an official OALC congregation. Eventually the main congregation became ALC after the split around 1930 or so, when ALC and "Heidemans" separated. It is my opinion that not only LLL but his children, who lived in various areas of the Tornio Valley in Sweden, had an impact on those early immigrants,those coming to North America by way of Northern Norway or directly from Sweden and Finland. For a long time we followed the scissors rule but my family was never concerned about neckties, chrome car bumpers, or curtains as were some during my parents' youth. So, I guess over the years people hung on to some of the "rules" and let others go by the way.

    Happy 2009.

    Scissors (for short)

  13. True, there are some rules that my parents passed down from their parents, that my friends had never heard of too. I guess thats what happens, some rules get forgotten, and some get hung unto and passed down...funny how that is!

  14. Welcome scissors. I am not OALC or even a former or ex, I am still IALC. The IALC is quite a bit less legalistic than the others. But more importantly, my family is also from Swedish Tornio River Valley. If you want to get in touch with me, contact the administrator. I like to learn more about the area.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  15. What does the 'I' stand for in IALC? Is this an older branch?

  16. I stands for Independent--I think that church wanted to sort of back away from some of the Laestadian practices/legalism (i.e. public confession of sin amongst others), and it adopted that moniker for that reason. People from that church do not want to be considered Laestadians and get offended if they're referred to as such.

  17. Well, not using scissors on Sunday is a new one on me. As an ex-oalcer I thought I had heard them all!
    You know, whistleing is calling the devil!!!!etc., etc...

    But I guess there is no end to it.

    Happy New Year to all!

  18. I was raised FALC. So was my mother-in-law but she had left in her 20s. Funny thing is, when she first saw me sewing on Sunday she was horrified. I told her that for me sewing was a pleasure whereas cooking was a pain and I considered it work. Nuff said. Funny how that mentality is though. Women can slave over a hot stove and make the “Sunday dinner” which often was more work than other meals during the work, but that is just fine. If we are truly to follow the no work thing, then we should all eat cold sandwiches or something else that can just be dumped in a bowl and eaten cold. What silliness! So I continued to sew and my mother-in-law continued to be shocked.

    I just finished reading Dreams From My Father by our new president-elect. Very interesting read. I actually ordered it from the library months ago but it just became available. I had many moments where his lost feelings in life of not having a niche to fit in truly mirrored my own lost feelings when I left the church. There are so many reasons for feeling that disconnect, but really, it does make us all one. If we could all just see past the physical/cultural differences and come to understand that we all seek the same thing. Acceptance, acknowledgement, respect and understanding all stand out as cool things to have. Too bad that we need to struggle so to feel them.
    Happy New Year all! May we all enjoy peaceful hearts this year.
    And my resolution? Not to make any stinkin resolutions! Just to live each day and face each challenge without a grand master plan, as I do anyway, so it is not new.

  19. Cvow, did you know that there is a difference between 'torppari' and 'talollinen'? Both are farmers, but the difference is that if you are 'torppari' you don't own the land you are farming but you and your land belong to a landowner and you are supposed to work also the fields of the landowner, whereas 'talollinen' is someone who owns his farm, and if he is a richer one, he may also have some 'torppari' within his lands. They of course occupy part of his lands, but on the other hand he gets help from them to work his fields, which means that he doesn't have to hire so many workers. I think this system was abolished around the time when Finland became independent (1917).


    I've only heard about the no cutting with scissors on Sunday rule in Northern Norway. Maybe that's where it came also to America because many immigrants came from those areas?

  20. Just want to add that my mother-in-law looked aghast at me sewing as she was sipping her hi-ball. Oh how we judge the other guys actions. She said she couldn't believe that Rev. T's granddaughter was sewing on Sunday. I wanted to ask what her folks would say if they saw the alcohol. That still makes me giggle. Of course, I was a newlywed so I didn't point out that irony.

  21. By the way, all, I saw the Kautokeino Rebellion this weekend and it was wonderful. It was the most watched movie in Norway in 2008. It did have some historical gaffes, however. The non-Sami characters were speaking Norwegian, when it is more likely they would have been speaking in Finnish. In that area, only the preacher and possibly the sheriff would have spoken Norwegian. They also showed Elen, the female protagonist, preaching a sermon about alcohol abstinance. Not really from the pulpit but at a cottage meeting or house services. Do you think that might have been possible? I have never heard of a female Laestadian speaker. Some congregations don't even allow female Sunday school teachers. (Although that can vary from congregation to congregation). They also showed Laestadius, played by my favorite Swedish actor Michael Nyquist, as preaching to a congregation in Swedish. He most likely would have been preaching in Sami or Finnish.

    I was reminded of that by Hibernatus's remark about the no cutting on Sunday perhaps due to Northern Norway.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  22. Hibernatus,
    No,I didn't know that distinction, and thanks for the explanation! My ancestors in at least one leg were on the poor side I guess, because they were even entered in the Papinkirjet as "torppari". I've traced that line back to 1700 when we were "Santalas", then on to "Carlsson" which they used for a long time (and there were LOTS of Carls and Karls), then to being identified as a torppari on "Niemis" farm, and finally to our present name, which I understand my great-grandfather asked a local preacher if he could use in America, since he had to other permament last name to use.

    No landed gentry in my lineage, darn it!

  23. Stranger in a Strange Land, I liked the movie, too. I don't think the Laestadius figure - the way he acted and preached - felt genuine, it was way too modern. And yes, he probably would have preached in Finnish rather than Swedish, or maybe Sámi (since it was a market season for the Sámi). Of the written sermons that have survived until this day, the vast majority are in Finnish, only a few in Swedish and Sámi. Swedish was not spoken much in those areas back then, and Sámi in general was used even less as a written language than Finnish. I think it's possible he used Sámi much more than can be assumed based on the preserved sermon texts because he didn't necessarily write down them and on the other hand if he did write down them, there maybe wasn't as much use for the Sámi language sermons later as there was for the Finnish language sermons (lower literacy), and maybe they were just not preserved?

    Women played an important role in the spreading of Laestadianism, and in many places they also spoke at home gatherings until there were men who were sufficiently indoctrinated to become preachers. Laestadianism was brought by a woman also to Ofoten (the stronghold of OALC in Norway, the area around Narvik), and at the initial stage also the leading figure among the Laestadians in Oulu, Finland, was a woman. That's why I didn't find the scenes in which Elen spoke to the people fake, but in my opinion, the way she spoke sounded too modern (just like the way Laestadius preached).

  24. That is interesting information, Hibernatus. I did not know that women had an early role in spreading the gospel in the early days of the movement. What was the name of the Finnish woman in Oulu?

    I've never read any of Laeastadius's sermons, although I understand they were pretty gritty, and I did notice how "smooth" the Nyquist version sounded.

    I understand that Laestadius didn't even learn Finnish until he came to Pajala.

    I suppose the Norwegians didn't want to use so much Finnish in this movie for political reasons. Amongst the Norwegian Samis I have met recently, there seems to be quite a resentment towards Finns in general, particularly because the Kven population is now demanding to be recognized as indigenous and to receive special rights as such. The only Finnish I recognized was Ruth's wife coming off the boat after her summer in Alta, and in greeting her husband she says "mina rakastan sinua." That was the only hint that Ruth and his wife were Finn folk.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  25. We don't have any new years traditions. I don't even make it to midnight anymore! ..new years isn't as exciting as it was when I was younger. And as for resolutions, I don't make them anymore..I never stick to them anyways

  26. Her name was Sofie Hackzell.

  27. LLLreader--regarding the role of women--I remember an aunt telling me about my Grandma interpreting during services at a very early time in the formation of the OALC in the Hockinson area. She described how Grandma had such wonderful posture and would walk to the front of the church with her long black skirt swaying. It's an image I like to keep in my head. She died when I was young so I didn't know her. She spoke five languages--came into the church when she married Grandpa.

  28. That's interesting! Do you know what 5 languages she spoke? And what languages she was interpreting from to what language.

  29. LLLreader replies: She spoke Finnish, English, Swedish, German,and I believe French. I assume she translated from both Finnish and Swedish to English. I know she did translate letters from Swedish Lapland to English. She came from a well educated family. I sure wish I would have known her. I think many people are surprised to know that Laestadius was a botanist, with an exceptional education. In this day and age preachers speaking against getting a good education certainly aren't doing the kids any favors. It's better then in the past though--when some of the Hockinson church kids had to quit school after the 8th grade. That was in the 1950's. I know some of those "kids" who are now in their 60's and 70's. Some of the nicest people--who should have been given more opportunities.

  30. That's so interesting! My mom told me that she had to quit school after the eighth grade as well...she had to focus on learning the catechism (sp?) for confirmation, and her mom wanted to make sure she knew it so she didn't disgrace her. She never finished high school, but she was always reading and learning. She could have done much more with the opportunity as well. I think her brothers were allowed to finish high school. My dad finished high school, but no more than that.

    They were LLL, but I remember Mom talking about the split that Heideman was part of, so wouldn't they have been OALC before that? Because before the split in the 70s, we were called Finnish Apostolic Lutherans...and later changed our name again to the Laestadian name, to better reflect our heritage, is what I was told.

    Do I have that right? I'm still so confused. :)

  31. Hi Daisy-LLLreader here. Somewhere in the past there was a long discussion about the splits. There is a book that goes into detail about the divisions. I remember writing about it, but can't remember the year, or even the name of the book. Am I getting old and forgetful--or what? Can someone help out? I was looking back and see that this blog has been going since 2004. I enjoyed seeing the ebb and flow of ideas and feelings--Free has given us quite a platform. I didn't know anything abut the development of Laestadianism until I came here and was able to start doing some studying on my own. The different rules in the different churches are as much the result of the personalities of the preachers as anything. How could it be any other way? The church is based on what men say--not what God says.

  32. Do you think that maybe some of the original splits happened because there were different nationalities, and they were from different areas? Some congregations are predominantly Finnish, but of course many are Swedish too, which really didn't occur to me years ago. Each geographic region had such different customs and practices, I can see why there would be problems in those days.. and then it became a tradition to question the 'sincerity' of anyone who didn't do things, or believe, exactly like you.

    LLLreader, are you referring to "A Godly Heritage" by Aila Foltz and Miriam Yliniemi.. it came out a couple of years ago. I have not read it yet, but it was loaned to me.

    okay now Daisy, you should know more about this than me lol.. but the LLL split from the group that now calls itself the FALC (First Apostolic Lutheran Church). At least that's how I understand it.. But it's weird that it was once called "Finnish Apostolic", because the IALC calls itself that at times too.

    How confusing. And how tiring :-).

    Is everyone excited about the Inaugeration tomorrow?? I was thinkin' about you guys.. Well, I hope all goes well, it really is a historic time, and he sure does have his work cut out for him from day one. This ECONOMY! voi voi.

    Have a great evening!

    (oh, a few weeks after the accident, my BP went up, and it's always been soooo low! Kind of a delayed reaction I suppose.. on meds now for it, of all things. Going for massages too, which is VERY nice.)

  33. Greetings to Norah from LLLreader. Well, if your bp is up that certainly calls for time off for yourself--sipping tea, reading and such. "A Godly Heritage" was the book I was thinking of. I am so hopeful for our country with Obama in the White House.

  34. Interesting question. I have a friend from the ALC who believes the splits occured due to geographic areas too. I sort of believe that, in a way.

    A strange question for you: despite the fact that American Laestadians have both Finnish and Saami heritage (I wonder if there were any ethnic Norwegians or Swedes, but thats a topic for another day) have you ever heard of a Laestadian (by hertiage rather than by conversion) who didn't identify as Finnish?

    My friend Ellen who is a member of the North American Sami siida's family is from North Norway, and her great-grandparents spoke Finnish, Norwegian, and North Sami. Her dad immigrated here in the 1960's and did not remain Laestadian.

    Whereas my family came from Norway, Sweden, and Finland but no one told me that we were anything but Finnish; I had to find out for myself that we were actually very much Saami.

    I've never heard of a Swedish Laestadian congregation, but understand that there are some Swedish-speaking Finnish congregations in Vaasa.

    The interesting thing about the Laestadian movement is that after most of our ancestors left (between 1870-1910) the movement seemed to spread further and further south in Finland.

    --Stranger in a Strange Land

  35. Is the blog out or order? Why the silence?


  36. There are a few thousand Swedish speaking Laestadians in Finland (I don't know exactly but I'd guess that there are about 5 000 of them), mostly on the west coast between Vaasa and Oulu. The biggest concentration of them is around Jakobstad/Pietarsaari. Pretty much all of them belong to the LFF, the local equivalent of the American ALC. There are also some Swedish speaking Laestadians in Southern Finland, both ALC and OALC (the two ALC congregations in Southern Finland are bilingual, while in the OALC Swedish plays only a minor role).

    In Sweden, the vast majority of the Laestadians have traditionally been either Finnish or Sami speakers, but the language situation has changed over the last few decades and now most of the Laestadians in Sweden speak Swedish as their first language although their ancestors spoke Finnish or Sami.

  37. Scissors:
    Just kind of burnt out on reliving my past and busy enjoying the present fruits of faith :)