Skål! Scandinavian Spirits

Exhibition
Dec 11, 2015 – Feb 28, 2016
CLOSED

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden share a “spirited” tradition of enjoying beer and aquavit — sometimes together, sometimes separately. 

This exhibition explores the cultural history of these beverages, follows those drinking traditions to Scandinavian-American communities, and answers questions like “What IS aquavit, anyway?” and “How do you ‘skål’ correctly?”  Fun, informative, and engaging, this exhibition will travel to Scandinavian museums across the United States between 2015 and 2017. 

Raise your glass. Say “skål!” (pronounced “skoal”) with gusto. The word “skål” itself has origins made misty over time. Some claim that the term has a root in the skulls of the vanquished, from which Viking warriors would drink to celebrate their victory. But this grisly story, is just a story.


In more recent times, wooden bowls — sometimes elaborately decorated — would be filled with beer and passed from person to person at community gatherings like weddings or festival days. The word for bowl is “skål” in Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian. From that tradition of passing the bowl, the term “Skål” is now also a toast — ”cheers!”

 

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