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Thread: Celebrating Germanic Heritage in the U.S.

  1. #11
    Bloodhound Jäger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deary View Post
    Hundreds of Norwegian flags fly on Syttende Mai.
    As a more general question, what happens when the festival is over?

    I know some "German" festivals in America, those mostly try to be tourist attractions, and no matter what German heritage they had, they always celebrate a rip off of the Bavarian "Oktoberfest".

    Here is a sad example of Hessians going Bavarian: http://www.newbraunfels.com/

    I always found it strange that at only a few days of the year the majority remembers their heritage, then silently forgetting it until the next festival.
    This is the opposite of preserving, and is actually very degrading, not even considering the fact that such customs and traditions are the tiniest part of culture.

    Culture means living, we can develop like we develop because we live like this, not just remember it.
    A Goethe certainly never would have come from England, and no Shakespeare would have developed in Germany.

    Anyway, this is just a rant, and based on my personal limited experience, if you have examples to prove me wrong, I will happily accept such, but my experience so far is that 95% of all "German"-Americans are lost to Germandom, and of the remaining percentage, 4% are over 70 years old.
    Maybe Scandinavians did better.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Funding Member Schmetterling's Avatar
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    Some Germans in Germany don't even go to Oktoberfests and the like. Anyway, culture isn't something that should just be "celebrated" in my opinion. You either live by it, or you don't.

    @ Jäger I've been to Texas and found it disappointing. They've got the Wurstfest where they just stuff themselves with sausages while wearing some "traditional" German costume. That's all there is to these festivals, they dress up in costumes and think that makes them suddenly cultured. And most Americans associate Germans with Bavarians and traditional costumes with Dirndl and Lederhosen. Once these fests are over, they go back to their daily lives. That's why it's called "celebrating" in the first place.

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    Based on my experiences in the central and upper Midwest where I visited cities and towns that were nearly all Norwegian, Dutch, Swiss, etc., the peoples Germanic culture was lived by and celebrated. The festivals I attended were more than tourist attractions and didn't end after the festival. Their heritage was a part of their daily lives. Those my age had a parent, grand parent or great grandparent from Europe, so the culture was still new and not yet greatly diluted and they seemed to make a great effort to preserve whatever they had. I spent a lot of this time camping in the woods, on the farms and in the houses of my friend's family, his family's friends, and their friends. Everyone knew eachother. Parents would pass down the stories of the country's history where they came from. Children there grew up hearing the Viking myths as bedtime stories. Every day they would eat something from old Scandinavian, Dutch or German cookbooks not always written in English. These are recipes that have been passed down for generations. Many of the adults and elderly knew the language of their European ancestors. Those who didn't know were making an effort to learn. People had heavy, heavy Midwestern accents. On holidays the families sung songs from the "old country". Of course, these people don't have culture in the same sense you do in Europe, but the culture they have certainly is not comparable to some Octoberfest in Texas. Mind you, these people loved to drink, but when they did, they got all their friends and family together every evening around a bonfire in the backyard or at an old pub where they could always count on seeing people they knew. There was a most wonderful sense of culture and community up in the Midwest unlike anything you'll probably find in the rest of the country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deary View Post
    Based on my experiences in the central and upper Midwest where I visited cities and towns that were nearly all Norwegian, Dutch, Swiss, etc., the peoples Germanic culture was lived by and celebrated. The festivals I attended were more than tourist attractions and didn't end after the festival. Their heritage was a part of their daily lives. Those my age had a parent, grand parent or great grandparent from Europe, so the culture was still new and not yet greatly diluted and they seemed to make a great effort to preserve whatever they had. I spent a lot of this time camping in the woods, on the farms and in the houses of my friend's family, his family's friends, and their friends. Everyone knew eachother. Parents would pass down the stories of the country's history where they came from. Children there grew up hearing the Viking myths as bedtime stories. Every day they would eat something from old Scandinavian, Dutch or German cookbooks not always written in English. These are recipes that have been passed down for generations. Many of the adults and elderly knew the language of their European ancestors. Those who didn't know were making an effort to learn. People had heavy, heavy Midwestern accents. On holidays the families sung songs from the "old country". Of course, these people don't have culture in the same sense you do in Europe, but the culture they have certainly is not comparable to some Octoberfest in Texas. Mind you, these people loved to drink, but when they did, they got all their friends and family together every evening around a bonfire in the backyard or at an old pub where they could always count on seeing people they knew. There was a most wonderful sense of culture and community up in the Midwest unlike anything you'll probably find in the rest of the country.
    I think they will increasingly struggle to hold on to those memories of the old country as time passes by. You can't have it both ways, existing in limbo.

    I disagree that heritage can be maintained meaningfully thousands of miles away from the mother country. Only sporadic aspects can survive. Plus, without replenishment of the colonial stock with new waves of migrants, the colonial community will "fossilise" and become something separate.

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    Funding Member Schmetterling's Avatar
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    I see they're sporting American flags, not just Norwegian flags. I find this disturbing to be honest. If you are Norwegian and celebrate your country's constitution day, then you have no business flying the US flag. The way I see it, people in the US have two options: stick to the heritage of their ancestors from Europe, and live by European ways/culture or become Americans and live by American culture. But some want both the gold and the silver. It just isn't possible. They end up having an identity issue.

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    I am glad to see these proud traditions in the U.S. of America as elsewhere. If it's genuine it's all good. Education is also good. If the people are of Germanic ancestry, I applaud it. The pictures are really nice, Deary.
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    Bloodhound Jäger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deary View Post
    Many of the adults and elderly knew the language of their European ancestors.
    Hmm, why is it always the young who do not speak the language of their ancestors, when they have parents who do?

    Anyway, what you say does sound interesting.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nachthimmel View Post

    Looks good--except for the brown girl in the upper righthand corner... eyes:

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    Just a suggestion

    Please, can we try keeping it positive? That is what this thread is supposed be about. We don't have it perfect, but it'd be pleasant for a change to focus on what Germanic preservation we do have existing here in the U.S. no matter how great or small

    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    Hmm, why is it always the young who do not speak the language of their ancestors, when they have parents who do?

    Anyway, what you say does sound interesting.
    They probably thought it would be more important for them to know English. A lot of people have the idea that it will be difficult for a child to be raised learning more than one language although studies prove otherwise.

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    Funding Member Schmetterling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deary View Post
    Please, can we try keeping it positive? That is what this thread is supposed be about. We don't have it perfect, but it'd be pleasant for a change to focus on what Germanic preservation we do have existing here in the U.S. no matter how great or small
    Why should we keep it positive if some examples are not valid examples of true preservation? If someone is making a wrong point in a thread, it isn't against any rule to correct it. In my opinion, flying the flags of two countries speaks against preservation of one's heritage. If you are Norwegian, you are only patriotic/loyal to Norway.

    Like the views or not of a certain group, anyone's words can bring about some very enlightening discussions and intelligent arguments. It's usually best to gather as many attitudes as possible so as to better your own stance on a matter. Others might benefit from their opinions even if you don't. Denying a person the right to speak even if he remains on-topic, makes a highbrow contribution, and is not in violation of the rules should be given some decent consideration instead of a slap on the wrist. Doing so would be about as ridiculous as saying you don't want to learn, which is what a great many people refer to as stupidity.

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