Yeah, our bad, the post template wasn’t fully updated. Fixed.
As today is Leifur Eiríksson Day (or the anglicised Leif Erikson Day) in America, today’s post features a statue of him located at Eiríksstaðir, his probable place of birth.
For those not familiar, the day commemorates the voyage that resulted in Leifur’s crew being the first known Europeans to set foot in North America (excluding Greenland)… almost 500 years before Christopher Columbus. In fact, a visit by Columbus to Iceland in 1477 could have resulted in him hearing of this journey.
Leifur was born in Iceland sometime around 970, the son of Eiríkur Þorvaldsson (Erik the Red). Eiríkur had founded the first permanent European colonies in Greenland, and it was on a trip there that Leifur was blown off course and first saw new lands. A similar tale from a fellow seaman resulted in Leifur acquiring a larger boat and crew and making the fateful journey to what is now the eastern coast of Canada.
In the late 1800s it became popular opinion that vikings had indeed been the first Europeans in the New World, and in 1925 President Calvin Coolidge declared Leifur as the first European to discover America. Starting in 1930, several states began to officially recognise and celebrate Leifur Eiríksson Day. However, pressure from prominent Italian-Americans led President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to declare Columbus Day a federal holiday in 1934. Leifur was pushed out of the way, destined to be forgotten.
Finally, in 1960, excavations on Newfoundland uncovered the ruins of a Norse village dating to the same time period as Leifur’s visitation, giving further credibility to the explorer. Four years later, Lyndon B. Johnson became the first president to give an annual proclamation on Leifur Eiríksson Day… and every president has done so since.
The date of October 9th has no actual significance in regards to Leifur’s life and accomplishments. It was chosen to coincide with the date of the first organised immigration from Norway, the ship Restauration in 1825. Most presidents’ proclamations have, accordingly, dealt with the contributions of Norse-Americans and the spirit of discovery. Today is the 50th official proclamation, and here it is:
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
At a time when much of the world remained unknown, Leif Erikson — a son of Iceland and grandson of Norway — left his Nordic homeland and sailed westward across an unrelenting ocean. Landing in present-day Canada more than 1,000 years ago, Erikson and his crew became the first Europeans known to reach North America. In this new world, they discovered a land rich with natural resources and established their first settlement, Vinland. Today, we recognize their courageous spirit and the daring exploration that forged a path for centuries of exchange, innovation, and opportunity.
More than 800 years after this historic voyage, a group of Norwegian immigrants boarded a ship named Restauration, and with the same sense of hope and determination shared by Erikson and his crew, they crossed the Atlantic in pursuit of the freedoms promised in America. On October 9, 1825, they arrived in New York City, becoming the first organized group of immigrants from Norway to reach the United States. Together, they wrote a chapter of our two countries’ interconnected story and opened the doors to opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of Norwegians who would follow, enriching our communities and bettering our Nation.
This year, we also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the adoption of Norway’s constitution, a charter influenced by America’s founding documents, and we are reminded of the powerful bonds between our two nations and the values and ideals our people embrace. As we reflect on our common past, we rededicate ourselves to preserving all that has brought us together: the story of a fearless leader who reached for new possibilities; our shared commitment to self-determination and freedom; and the simple truth that has drawn immigrants to our shores — in America, anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead.
Today, there is more work to do to strengthen these promises, and we require bold thinkers and explorers to achieve what we know can be possible. The far reaches of our universe and the depths of our oceans remain unexplored, and the next frontiers in science, medicine, and technology await a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. As a Nation, let us carry forward the spirit of Leif Erikson and seize the future together.
To honor Leif Erikson and celebrate our Nordic-American heritage, the Congress, by joint resolution (Public Law 88-566) approved on September 2, 1964, has authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 9 of each year as “Leif Erikson Day.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 9, 2014, as Leif Erikson Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs to honor our rich Nordic-American heritage.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Happy Leifur Eiríksson Day, all! Bless.
As you all may have noticed, the posts have been updated a bit… so here’s just an overview:
The font on the photos has been altered slightly. No big deal. But we’re also going to include the English translation directly on the photo from now on. Again, no big deal.
In the caption section the declensions/conjugations are also slightly tweaked. We just like em dashes.
Most important, however, is that there will now be three links at the bottom of each post:
► will take you to the ISLEX page for the word, where you can hear the pronunciation. This is a wonderful site we literally just found yesterday. It also has translations in the other Scandinavian languages… although we do believe Faroese and Finnish are still under construction.
Wiki(is)/BÍN will take you to the Icelandic Wikipedia page of nouns (if one exists) or the BÍN page of verbs and adjectives. Our hope is that you will use the wikis to further familiarise yourselves with the language and grammar. The BÍN pages obviously help by providing more info than we can in a short post.
Photo credit will take you to the original photo source in Flickr. This used to be accomplished via a “click-through” on the post. However, we felt that because it wasn’t obvious people didn’t realise that we do indeed give credit where due. So that’s just been made more apparent.
So that’s about it. Suggestions on how we can approve is always appreciated. Other than that, have fun… we missed doing this, and we missed all of you. Bless.
Hæ all! We just wanted to let you all know that we haven’t forgotten you. We plan on returning in the next week or two with the word posts (probably still on Tue and Thu), possibly in a slightly tweaked format. We also want to continue the lessons, but realise they’re ungainly and too technical for the average person… and that’s exactly who we originally started this for. So, once we figure out exactly how we want to proceed with that we will. As always, we apologise for our absence—especially this long of one—and are so thankful that you who love what we do. Sjáumst… aka see you soon!
Being an útlendingur (non-Icelander) I’m not all that familiar with Icelandic proverbs/sayings/idioms other than what I can find online. Perhaps you could ask Íslenskt mál… a native íslendingur who also has a degree in the language.
The best I could offer is something like ‚heimili, kær heimili‘.
Sorry I couldn’t be of more use. =/
Já, that’s correct, just change the grave accent to an acute one. Björk even sang an Icelandic version of that song in concert once. You can find a recording of it on YouTube.
Fyrirgefðu! That was meant to say nouns. I got confused as well by the question, as there ARE strong and weak verbs, but I couldn’t understand why I would have written about them at that time. That’s what happens when you write these things at 4am as I tend to do. I’m surprised nobody else pointed that out before. Again, sorry, and it’s been fixed.
I’m vaguely aware of the site, and may have signed up at one point, but I can’t say that I’ve ever actually used it. It does seem to be the primary place people are pointed toward in terms of online learning… however, it’s also the only place I know of. Sorry I can’t be of any real help. =/
Ævintýrakona is the word you’re probably looking for. It literally means ‘adventure woman’, or ‘adventuress’. =]