Saturday, May 15, 2010

girls in traditional swedish costume, kingsburg, calif. (updated)

My mom tells me that the yellow dresses are from Leksand, and the costume with the pointy hat is from Rättvik. Both are towns in the province of Dalarna. During the time of national romanticism in Sweden at the turn of the last century the culture of Dalarna was elevated to represent Swedishness in general. Hence the popularity of these costumes, and the Dala horse.

During the same time, early 1900s, Kingsburg, Calif. was almost one hundred percent Swedish. Now, more than a hundred years later, you still notice an unusually high number of yellow-haired people in town, compared to anywhere else in California.

My mom was born in Dalarna, and she tells me that as kids in the 1930s, she and her sister would wear out their Leksand dresses, that's how often they wore them.

The Hmong, a people from South East Asia, believe that if you make babies look like flowers from above, evil spirits will mistake them for real flowers, and pass them by. I wonder if the long-ago Swedes had a similar idea?

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