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1921 Hadeland Stevne
Da Hadelandslaget kom til Norge (The Hadeland Lag Comes to Norway)
The original article appeared in the first issue of the Brua in the fall of 1921. It was translated and republished in the August 2010 Brua.
220 visiting Americans arrived on the Wilson Line steamship “Rollo” at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, 1921. At 9:00 Nordsmanns Forbundet president F. G. Gade officially welcomed them to Oslo and to Norway. Thomas A. Walby responded with thanks. They then sang three songs: “Ja, vi elsker dette landet,” “Gud Signe Norigs Land,” and “My country, ‘tis of thee.” Each of the visitors was given a map of Oslo, together with a printed program of the planned activities for later that day. Then they were transported to their various hotels.
At 12:30 p.m. the Americans assembled at the Historical Museum at the University of Oslo where Conservator Gjessing welcomed them and showed them the Oseberg Viking Burial Ship and the rich contents of that 1904 historic find. He reviewed Norway’s cultural history from the Viking Age to their present time. The large group traveled to the Akershus Fortress where Chief Architect Sinding-Larsen spoke to them about the long history of the Fortress. They then toured the fortress and concluded their visit there with a short organ recital in the chapel of the Fortress.
At 5:00 p.m. they were given a tour of the then western suburb of Majorstuen on their way to the Holmenkollen Ski Jump and Museum where they enjoyed an interesting tour. At the conclusion of the day, Pastor Kolstø from Plummer, Minnesota thanked the Nordmanns Forbundet for the hearty welcome that the visiting bygdelag members had experienced. Dr. Gade closed the day’s visit with the wish that all the visitors would have a wonderful time during their visits in Norway. That evening some of the Americans continued on their way to the various districts from which they had emigrated many years earlier. Others decided to remain in Oslo to celebrate the 17th of May the following Tuesday. Thomas A. Walby traveled on to Hadeland that evening.
June 23, 1921 – Norwegian-American Day in Hadeland
2,000 people gathered on Halvdanshaugen at the Hadeland Folkemuseum
Norwegian-American Day in Hadeland will be a special day that happens very infrequently and that will not be forgotten for a long time by both the Hadelanders from America and the people from the home community. It was a wonderful day from the beginning to the end. The community was bathed in the wonder of St. Hans’ sunny splendor and the flags waved over everyone in the light breeze. The day seemed to be created for a celebration and the celebration was both in tnature and in the minds of the people.
The day began with a worship service in the Gran Church, which was beautifully decorated for the occasion with Norwegian and American flags, leaves and flowers in the high summer season’s most attractive colors. The Women’s Committee who had been in charge of decorating the old beautiful church had transformed it in a very deserving manner. One became in tune with the festive church holiday immediately as one stepped through the door and heard Pastor Olssen’s moving sermon, the beautiful organ music, the melodious singing under the church’s high arch, together with the wonderful combination of the sun’s rays, the colorful leaves and flowers – all created a very moving effect.
The church filled to overflowing with people and many had to remain outside when they couldn’t come in. The church service was festive from first to last and gave much honor to Gran’s remarkable parish pastor. After the church service the Americans visited the Steinhus located next to the Gran Parsonage while the Hadeland Glasswork’s Band played outdoors, where the remaining people were gathered.
By 1:30 p.m. the Hadelanders from America gathered with some local people, about 60 in all, for lunch at Gregersstuen at Granvolden. To the tune of “Ja, vi elsker” they were welcomed to the tables and to Chef Schou’s remarkable menu which awaited the attention of the guests.
Sheriff Hvamstad wished everyone welcome and told about how happy the Gran community was to have the Hadelanders from America as their guests. Chairman of the Hadeland Lag, T. A. Walby thanked them. Pastor Olsson introduced Nordmanns Forbundet President Medical Dr. Gade, who acknowledged with a lively talk everything that was being done by all to give the Norwegian-Americans a hearty welcome.
Chairman of the Welcoming committee Attorney Gulden spoke to the Hadelanders in America and asked Mr. Walby to bring greetings to the Hadeland Lag from the home community. Mr. Walby thanked Gulden for his hearty greetings and said that the well wishes that he and the other Norwegian Americans were met with here in Hadeland would always remain with them as rich, delightful, and beautiful memories.
Teacher Hjemsø recited a poetic welcome greeting written by the festivity’s hostess.
“We wish a hearty welcome to the Norwegian American Hadeland Lag that has come to Gran today! It is a magnificent time of the year – St. Hans’ Day – when the fields and meadows and all of nature display themselves in full splendor. It was a long time ago that you journeyed across the ocean in order to set your feet under your own table. We know that you have toiled and struggled, yes even more than we have realized. But now, all that is to your great credit. You love the land of your birth, your father and mother. And there, now old, they have worried and prayed so fervently for their young girls and their young boys whom they once set out into the world. But now they have their reward again, now their children have returned as brave women and brave men. Now it is time for a toast! Reach for your glass and take a drink!”
On behalf of the Host Committee Editor Lie answered with a hearty welcome and a toast for the Women’s Committee who had made the arrangements for the delicious lunch.
Acting as representative for the Sognelag in America, Mr. Underdal gave a wonderful talk in his clear Sogning dialect to the Hadeland community for what they had done for the visiting Norwegian-Americans. Such a celebration would never be forgotten!
About 4:00 p.m. the dinner group made its way to Halvdanshaugen where the Tingelstad Brass Ensemble welcomed them with rousting musical numbers. There were people on all the roads leading to the Festival – old and young, all the locals who were free that afternoon were heading to Halvdanshaugen to celebrate with the Hadelanders from America. There were an estimated 2,500 people in attendance so it was very crowded on that beautiful hill that is surrounded by so many reminders of our ancestors’ lives and work.
Committee Chairman Gulden wished everyone welcome. This was followed by several beautiful musical selections by the Mannskor KK and the Hadeland Glassworks Band. Parish pastor Olssen then gave an outstanding address about the historical monuments and the old buildings in the outdoor museum and their connection with the district’s history from the ancient times to the time of Gregers Granavolden. Following another musical number, Mayor Egge delivered a hearty greeting on behalf of the home community. In it he said that the emigrated sons and daughters would always be remembered in Hadeland. He went on to describe the growth and developments in Hadeland that had taken place during the past generation since the emigants had left Norway. He ended his speech with the wish “Long Live the Hadelanders in America!”
Then came the most formal part of the program. On behalf of the Hadeland municipalities, Chairman Attorney Gulden presented a beautiful silk Norwegian flag to Mr. Walby and asked the Hadeland Lag Chairman to take it back to the Lag members in America. At the same time he expressed the wish that the Hadelanders in America would always hold Norway’s Colors high with both respect and honor. Mr. Walby accepted the flag while the musicians played “Ja vi elsker.” During that music, it was as quiet on Halvdanshaugen as in a church! In a most touching manner, Mr. Walby thanked for both the flag and the honor that had been shown all the visitors from America. He further stated that he was certain that the bonds between the Home District and the Hadelanders in America would for all time be strong and never broken. His response was met with strong applause.
The more formal or solemn part of the Festival was ended and then began the lighter part of the evening’s program. Actor Harald Stormoen from the National Theatre in Kirstiania was greeted with much applause when he appeared at the speaker’s platform. He told his best stories with infectious wit and good humor. The people laughed until tears were running down their cheeks. Then the music began again. The Committee’s Dancemaster Teacher Volla led the dancing, the Mannskorr KK sang, the Hadeland Glassworks Band and the Tingelstad Brass Ensemble continued to perform. Dancing and splendid fireworks were the finale to the day’s long program. And the dancing continued on the ‘green’ far into the summer-lit St. Hans’ night.
Sadly, although we know that seventeen Hadeland Lag members accompanied President Walby to Norway, their names were never recorded in the Lag’s records.
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Last update: December 29, 2016