So this is why I have never heard of all these Norwegian traditions that are supposedly popular in the US

I’ve already mentioned that I love maps (and, again, if you have relevant maps of Norway, let me know) and this map is pretty darned cool.

(Click on the map for the bigger version that is easier to read.)

The map breaks down the most common ancestry in each of the counties of the United States.  As you can see, the light green representing Norwegian shows up in a lot of North Dakota, some of Minnesota, and a little bit of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Montana. 

The thing that prompted this map is a question I get fairly routinely in Norway: what is __________ like in the US?  The blank can be almost anything that people are curious about and, as a real-live-in-person American, I get to represent the Stars and Stripes in all blank-related matters. 

I usually try to give the best answer I can to these questions.  Often this is the not-very-exciting-but-still-true “it varies by region in the US.”  When it doesn’t vary and there is a fairly consistent American pattern, however, I try to give that as well. 

This all brings me to Christmas and Christmas traditions.  Lately, I’ve heard of several Scandinavian traditions that I thought were not celebrated in the US, but it turns out that they are actually celebrated in the Upper Midwest.  It has usually prompted a second Norwegian to correct me about my knowledge of the US.  A bit embarrassing, but that’s what happens when you get a southerner to speak on behalf of the whole country!  (Note the distinct lack of Scandinavian ancestry in the South.)

So, North Dakotans, why don’t you quit reading and go dance around your Christmas tree or something, eh?

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