There are all sorts of reunions. Family reunions. High school reunions. Reunions of veterans. The reunion I attended on Saturday was the reunion of a village. Venjan, a beautiful little town in the northern part of Dalarna, Sweden, was the home my great-grandparents had left to build a new life in Minnesota. Over 20% of Venjan's population emigrated to North America, many of them coming to Minnesota; many of those coming to Isanti County. On Saturday, over 200 descendants of those villagers came together to share their stories, their histories and their culture.
In some ways it was a reuniting of families. Over thirty people traveled from Sweden for this reunion. I met the descendants of my great-grandfather's sister, Anna Sigfridson, who had stayed behind in Sweden. Some of them still live in Venjan.
Some of our Swedish visitors wore the beautiful traditional costumes from Dalarna. And some brought their accordions, concertinas and fiddles. I sang along with songs I hadn't heard since I was a little girl and my grandmother and her sisters would gather around the piano and sing the songs their parents had taught them. It was a wonderful day and the time we spent together went much too fast.
I was invited to visit Sweden and hope to make that trip next summer for the Venjan festival in Sweden. One of the homes of my great grandparents is not only still standing, but being lived in!