Passing down traditions: The Danish Sisterhood Amber Lodge 186
As part of Brainerd History Week The Danish Sisterhood Amber Lodge 186 displayed a number of historical and informational items in the Crow Wing County Historical Society relating to Danish heritage in hopes of teaching others more about their cu...
As part of Brainerd History Week The Danish Sisterhood Amber Lodge 186 displayed a number of historical and informational items in the Crow Wing County Historical Society relating to Danish heritage in hopes of teaching others more about their culture.
Part of the display included old photos and artifacts of Danish immigrant families that made their homes in Northern Minnesota. One family, the Hansens, happened to be visiting the exhibit and noticed themselves in the photos. Bill Hansen, his sister Jonie Hill (a Sisterhood member), Bill's son David and wife Jana Hansen all enjoyed reminiscing over family photos taken on their dairy farm years prior.
Scandinavian roots run deep in Minnesota and Brainerd is no exception. The Sisterhood was formed in 2004 and they have provided a variety of activities to the public including crafts, cooking presentations, and guest speakers to pass along traditions to future generations. There are several Danish Sisterhoods across Canada and the U.S. with a total of nearly 2,000 members.
Of course there are some famous Danes in history including writer Hans Christian Andersen, Lego creator Ole Kirk Christiansen, actress Scarlett Johansson, and actor Viggo Mortensen to name a few.
One activity that museum visitors were able to take part in was a children's story time. Sisterhood member Heidi Deuel, dressed in Danish garb, read Hans Christian Andersen's book entitled, "The Princess and the Pea."
"I really enjoy getting out and doing this," Deuel said. "I love working with kids at this age." Deuel's dress, borrowed from another member, was a traditional style worn by many Danish women garnished with ornate silver clasps.
Another activity, Danish woven paper art, allowed visitors to watch member Barb Wenschlag create traditional paper stars and heart baskets.
"We use red and white, which are our colors, but you can use any color," Wenschlag said. Wenschlag, a semi-retired teacher, demonstrated how to fold and weave the paper, something she has taught many kids.
Seemingly most popular among the activities was the sampling of aebleskiver. A dessert that many Danes enjoy, aebleskiver is a pancake-like puff cooked in a special cast-iron pan typically on a stove top. Commonly made around the Christmas holiday, aebleskiver is usually topped with a dollop of apple filling or jam. It can also be sprinkled in sugar, cinnamon, or doused in maple syrup.
"My grandkids love to eat it," Wenschlag said.
The Sisterhood welcomes both men and women into their fold. Danish heritage is not required. Simply an interest in the culture is all you need to join. They try to meet from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the third Saturday of the month at Evelyn Matthies' Art Studio in the Franklin Arts Center.
TAMARA HORTON may be reached at 218-855-5882 or email@example.com .
This article has been edited to reflect a correction made to the Lodge number on 6/24/16