Celebrating winter the Nordic way is coming to the South Cariboo this season.
Brenda Vallee, the facilitator of the Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy’s English language learning program, is organizing Embrace Winter, an Artful Approach to Scandinavian Concepts of Coziness. The program will run once a week on Sundays at 7 p.m. starting Dec. 6 and run until the end of January via the Facebook group Embracing Winter in the South Cariboo.
The free event will explore the topics of food, handicrafts and the meaning of the words hygge from Denmark, mystgt from Sweden and koselig from Norway. To explain these concepts, Vallee said they’ll have guest speakers from around the world, especially from the aforementioned countries.
“We’re going to look at Scandanavian cultural ways that they have learned to thrive during the winter season. We felt that was very appropriate for where we’re at,” Vallee said. “When we have winter, a lot of people find winter to be a very difficult season to get through so here is something we can do, some things we can focus on to help make the time of year a bit brighter.”
Vallee said she came up with the idea as winter came to the Cariboo so early this year and because COVID-19 making it hard to go out and enjoy the usual community social events. As a result, she wanted to create a program that’s putting a focus on making our homes the place we want to be, which sparked the idea of finding ways to make this winter season extra special.
The program is funded through a multicultural grant from the Province of B.C., which was previously used to fund a multicultural cooking day, where people gathered together to cook and try new food. As COVID-19 makes such a gathering impossible, Vallee said they wanted to do something similarly culturally focused that would enrich the community.
“Here are come international cultural communities who have been focused on this for year and years, what can we learn from them and bring into our own lives to increase our well-being?” Vallee asked.
Vallee sees Embrace Winter as a series, noting she and Kimberly Vance-Lundsbye, her fellow facilitator, are going on this learning journey with the participants. After each session, they’ll post weekly challenges on the Embracing Winter in the South Cariboo’s Facebook page and invite others to post their own pictures of how they’re implementing these ideas into their own life. These will include changing the lighting of your home with candles, bringing nature into your home and creating your home environment in a meaningful way.
“I’m looking forward to learning, I’m really looking forward to a few speakers we have lined up who are either international or local who have come from these countries. I’m really curious to see what they’re going to say because these words that I mentioned, we don’t have a direct translation for them in English, the closest we have is cozy,” Vallee said. “But that doesn’t even encompass the full meaning of those words and I think we can have a broader perspective hearing how they describe and incorporate these concepts into their daily lives.”
Their first official online meeting takes place via Facebook live on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. New participants can join in at any time throughout December and January.
“We’re also encouraging people to participate as much or little as they’re comfortable with because not everyone is comfortable on a virtual platform,” Vallee said. “We just want to bring light to the community and help people through these dark times.”