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Icelandic Connections: The Sagas Continue and Jónas Hallgrímsson

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

What is as joyful as a gathering of good friends. Hvað er svo glatt sem góðra vina fundur

Join Icelanders from all over North America and Iceland as we learn, grow, share, laugh, and connect.

The motto for the convention, ''Hvað er svo glatt sem góðra vina fundur,'' is from a poem, Vísur Íslendinga, (Verses of the Icelanders) composed in 1835 by Jónas Hallgrímsson. Click on the here and listen to a reading of the beginning.

This beautiful poem was put to music and I tried to find an entire song online (in Icelandic OR English) but could only find a part of the song. It is in English with Subtitles by Dick Ringler. He has published a book with the poems of Jónas Hallgrímsson translated to English. If anyone has a digital copy of the entire song or the beginning of the song in Icelandic, please send me the link. I did see that a few artists have recorded the song. I have the musical score sitting on my piano here and just played it. :)

Back to the convention:

The following is an email sent from the Organizing Committee

Hi everyone - you may now make hotel reservations for ‘Icelandic Connections: The Sagas Continue’ - the 96th Icelandic National League of North America Convention!

Wow, we have had fantastic conventions in Winnipeg and in previous years, so now we will do our best to put on an equally good meeting in Minneapolis!

Dates are May 14-17. The hotel rates are $95 per night for two double beds or one king. This rate is available during the convention and for 3 days before and 3 days after. Suites may also be booked with the hotel.

So, let’s share ideas, be inspired and informed, and make the most of this experience!

  • Free shuttle to and from the airport and Mall of America

  • Commuter train to downtown Minneapolis and Paul

  • Hiking and birding at the wildlife refuge across the street

This will be a time to focus on our proud heritage and our place in today’s global society! And, as many of you have said - Hvað er svo glatt sem góðra vina fundur - what is as joyful as a gathering of good friends?

See you in Minneapolis!

Harvey Thorleifson On behalf of the Organizing Committee

I love this Jónas Hallgrímsson poem in Icelandic and in English.

So let us, friends, refill our cups and savor this fragile hour of gaiety and mirth asking the Lord to grant our guests his favor and give them blessings all their days on earth.

Jónas Hallgrímsson is my 2nd cousin 4x removed. Here is a chart showing my 2nd Great Grandmother, Sigríður Jósepsdóttir to Jónas Hallgrímsson on the Icelandic Genealogy Database:

Jónas to Sunna

And P.S. another tidbit:

The northeast North Dakota Icelanders have been using this saying as their motto well before the summer of 2004. I found this old issue of the Fjalla Blað on the website. I do not know when exactly this motto was adopted and if anyone knows --- please send me a message.

Get ready for the 2015 Icelandic National League of North America annual convention. Hotel reservations are now available. Reserve your room today to join Icelanders from all over North America and Iceland when they come together to learn, grow, share, laugh, and connect with each other. This year, the convention is in Minnesota.Hope to see you in Minneapolis!

Other interesting posts about Jónas Hallgrímsson:

Email us your questions or join the conversation on our Facebook Group.

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