The son of Iceland's Eric the Red, arguably the Vikings' most famous figure and one of Norway's heroes, Leif Erikson received U.S. recognition in 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed October 9 as Leif Erickson Day. The day commemorates the arrival of a large group of Scandinavian immigrants in New York in 1825 aboard the Restauration. In observance of Erickson's epic voyage that took place more than 1,000 years ago, embark on your own adventure or honor his legacy with some Norwegian spirit.
Erikson braved harsh conditions during his intrepid voyage from Norway to his landing on the North American continent. On his day, do something new and exciting in either a mental or physical realm, such as taking a surfing lesson, hiking a mountain or asking someone out on a date. For something a bit less daring but still risky, plug into Erikson's modern nickname, "Leif the Lucky," and buy lottery tickets for your friends, family and yourself.
Eat Norwegian Food
Since Norway provides 31 million meals worth of seafood to more than 140 countries worldwide according to Norway Today magazine, a seafood dinner makes sense to celebrate Leif Erikson Day; choose from salmon, cod, halibut or Norwegian red crab. If seafood isn't your favorite, try Norwegian lamb or or have a grilled-cheese sandwich made with Norwegian Jarlsberg cheese, one of Norway's largest export foods. For dessert, serve rice pudding as a nod to the traditional rice porridge Norwegians eat on December 24.
Renew Your Faith
Norway's King Olaf converted Erikson to Christianity and sent him on a mission to spread Christianity to Greenland, but Erikson inadvertently discovered North America after veering off course. In honor of Erikson's mission, visit your own church to give a prayer of thanks, spend time providing service to others as a way to spread a message of love and hope, or spend an hour in meditation to refresh your own spiritual well-being. In the spirit of exploration, educate yourself in a new religion by reading.
Read a Book or Watch a Movie
For entertainment on Leif Erikson Day, immerse yourself in Norwegian art. Read a play by Henrik Ibsen or watch one of his plays made into a movie, such as "A Doll's House" or "Hedda." For an action film, watch "Kon Tiki," a depiction of the 1947 voyage of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl on a raft from Peru to Polynesia. For an equally adventurous book, read "The Last Place on Earth" about the differences between explorations to the South Pole by Norwegian Roald Amundsen and Brit Robert Scott.
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