Seventh Winter; Waffles and Jesus
In Sweden there remains an old adage, likely it’s relevance stems from the agrarian roots implanted by the pagan community which ruled until Martin Luther decided to hang his hat here and get messy with religion. It is now March twenty-sixth, spring sprung backwards but our clocks leapt forward an hour. I rose the shade from my bed to see if it just might be a surprise of a sunny day only to see snow falling, the gardening spot blanketed white again. Yesterday was gray and rainy, the highlight of my weekend despite the weather was it being “Våffeldagen”. In keeping with the conflicting Christian and Pagen society that dominates this wildly confusing Viking Jesus mystery lies yet another story that complicates waffle day even more so. The origins in English are the annunciation of our blessed virgin Mary; in Swedish it’s “Jungfru Marie bebådelsedag” which is basically the celebration of the angel Gabriel flying down from the heavens to tell the virtuous and virgin Mary that she had a bun in the oven, a very special bun that would change the world. “Vårfru” means virgin Mary, however in some dialects in Sweden during the 1800’s, someone confused the historical “vaffla” (meaning waffle) with Vårfru (meaning virgin wife literally) and thus began a Swedish custom to eat waffles on this very delicate Christian holy day. Now, I was raised primarily in the “Bible Belt” and forced to church school and bible studies throughout my youth. I know Eve was some naked woman made from a rib and gave her man an apple and a serpent was involved. I know old southern spirituals, the ten commandments and some miniscule remnants of biblical “facts” are embalmed in this sixty year old brain. I know that we pretend to eat flesh and drink blood and what I received was grape juice and a paper thin cracker which felt like chewy notebook paper. Yet nowhere in my first sixteen years of obligatory studies was there any mention of Gabriels significant secret, waffles or more likely in my region a trip to The Cracker Barrel for a full plate of biscuits and gravy. Swedes get more vacation days for obscure Christian holy moments, literally days that evangelical bible belters know nothing about, and if they do know we get waffles, jam, whipped cream and berries for messenger Gabriel’s news I believe they just might start a campaign to close down Walmart and at least expect “Eggos”. Now, not only do we have this manic weather to live with, we also still celebrate the pagan holidays and no Christian complains as long as they don’t have to work. Personally, for my twentieth “7th Winter” and my twentieth “Waffle Day” I think a bloody Mary is more appropriate.