Icelandic communities in Alberta have a new maid of the mountain.
The Fjallkona, as she is better known, represents Icelanders throughout the province at events where her presence is requested. Pat Bond of the Icelandic Canadian Club of Edmonton (ICCE) was crowned in a ceremony in Markerville last Saturday.
The Fjallkona represents old Icelandic traditions, and her duties include attending ceremonies, dinners, and Scandinavian events. In addition, if an Icelandic dignitary was to visit the province, she would spend time with him or her.
“She’s like a figurehead,” said Bev Arason- Gaudet, president of the ICCE.
Arason-Gaudet said Bond was chosen for the role by the ICCE’s board of directors because of her work ethic and because she promotes and is proud of her Icelandic heritage.
“I’m sort of like the Santa Claus,” said Bond of her new role. “It was overwhelming when I was asked, but I think I’ve accepted it, that it was my turn.”
Bond is half Icelandic, her other side being Scottish. She said she identified more with her Icelandic heritage because she grew up in Selkirk, Manitoba, where there is a large Icelandic community. She remembers family gatherings during Christmas time, especially going to her grandparents” house after church on Christmas Eve. She also remembers eating Icelandic foods like rullupylsa (lamb cured with spices and onions in the fridge for a week, then boiled), vinetarta (Icelandic cake), and Icelandic brown bread.
“I think the old traditions have become so interwoven with new traditions,” said Bond. She said she regrets not learning more about her heritage from her grandparents when she was younger.
Arason-Gaudet said Icelandic clubs are a place where people of Icelandic descent can be together. This includes recognizing the hardships their forefathers encountered after they immigrated to Canada, which she says makes the club’s members want to keep ties to Iceland.
Bond said she doesn’t think Icelanders are different from any other nationality.
“I think it’s important to keep your heritage no matter what your roots, and no matter where you came from.”