Event set for October 7 at the Vining Grill in Vining

The President of the United States each year proclaims Leif Erikson Day, recognizing that the first European in the ‘New World’ landed in New Foundland, Canada about the year 1000, during the Viking Age.

The community is welcomed  to the casual, fun celebration which will be held Thursday, Oct. 7, at the Vining Grill in Vining, along Highway 210. The gathering will begin at 5 p.m., hosted by members of Leif Erikson, Sons of Norway, of Vining. Those attending may order klub or a choice of menu items. The event is dutch treat (meaning each pays his/her own tab). The Presidential Proclamation will be read.

As a mark of respect to the courage of Leif Erikson and his Viking followers, the Congress of the United States, by joint resolution approved  on September 2, 1964, authorizing  the President to proclaim Oct. 9 in each year as Leif Erikson Day.  

Leif Erikson Day, honors the Norse explorer who was the leader of the first Europeans known to have set foot on the North American continent.

During his appearance at the Norse-American Centennial at the Minnesota State Fair in 1925, President Calvin Coolidge gave recognition to Leif Erikson as the discoverer of America due to research by Norwegian-American scholars. In 1929, Wisconsin became the first U.S. state to officially adopt Leif Erikson Day as a state holiday, Minnesota did also. Thanks to the efforts of the Leif Erikson Memorial Association of Saskatchewan, the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan proclaimed—through an order-in-council in 1936—that Leif Ericsson Day would be observed on October 9. By 1956, Leif Erikson Day had been made an official observance in seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and California) and one Canadian province (Saskatchewan).

It was in 1963, Senator Hubert Humphrey and Representative John Blatnik, both from Minnesota, introduced bills to observe Leif Erikson Day nationwide. On September 2, 1964, Congress unanimously authorized and requested the President to create the observance through an annual proclamation. Lyndon B. Johnson did so that first  year, as has each president in the years since, often using the proclamation to praise the contributions of Americans of Nordic descent generally and the spirit of discovery.

  For centuries, Christopher Columbus had been thought to be the first European to have reached the New World. However, in 1874 Rasmus B. Anderson published his book “America Not Discovered by Columbus.” It popularized the idea it was Vikings who were the first people from Europe to have arrived in North America. Research by Norwegian-American scholars such as Ludvig Hektoen and Knut Gjerset confirmed this idea.  It appears Columbus was in South America.

October 9 has no reference to any particular event in the life of Leif Erikson. This date commemorates the anniversary of the arrival of the ship Restauration in New York Harbor in 1825. This ship brought one of the first groups of immigrants from Norway to the United States.

For any questions please call (218) 282-0332.