Vasa Order of America

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Vasa Order of America is a Swedish-American fraternal, cultural and educational organization. The organization looks forward to increased members and supporters whom will benefit from the networking associations throughout the world affiliated with sharing our Swedish and Scandinavian culture and heritage.

Philosophy[edit]

The objects and purposes of the corporation shall be to render aid and assistance to sick members of the organization, whether such sickness be temporary or incurable, and to render pecuniary aid toward defraying the funeral expense of members, and to promote social and intellectual interaction among its members.

History[edit]

Vasa Order of America was founded in 1896 in New Haven, Connecticut at the height of Swedish immigration to the United States as a Swedish-American fraternal order.[1] Vasa Order of America emerged from the many Swedish societies that existed as a safety net for early immigrants. Named for the House of Vasa, the historic Royal House of Sweden, it has been noted as one of the largest Swedish-American ethnic or cultural organizations[2]

Organization[edit]

The Vasa Order comprises the Grand Lodge, 19 District Lodges, and nearly 300 local lodges. Local lodges in the United States, Canada, and Sweden offer cultural, language, and scholarship programs. The organization owns numerous lodge buildings and several parks, operates the Vasa National Archives at Bishop Hill, Illinois, and administers an Old Age and Sick Benefit Fund for members. Grand Lodge Annual Meetings and Conventions are held every four years.[citation needed]

The organization is led by a Grand Master, Vice Grand Master, Grand Secretary, Grand Treasurer, and other board members and officers.

Ritual[edit]

The society has had a ritual since its founding. It has been revised several times, for instance in 1915 and 1923. The Order also works three degree which correspond to the Local, District and Grand Lodge levels of the organization.[3]

Membership[edit]

Membership requirements have changed over the years. Originally open to men age 15-50. In 1923 membership was open to white men and women of good health who could speak Swedish or had Swedish ancestry.[4] Today membership is open to all people born in a Nordic country, of Nordic ancestry, spouses and widows of Vasa members and anyone else who is "committed to the promotion and advancement of Swedish and Nordic heritage and culture."[5]

Membership in the Vasa Order was at its height in 1929, when the organization had 72,261 members. It has declined since, with 35,000 members in 1979[6] and the same number in 1994.[7]

Membership Applications are available at VasaOrderofAmerica.org and the website lists the Districts and Local Lodges in the USA, Canada and Sweden.

Benefits[edit]

Each of the local lodges are managed and maintained at the local level with providing enrichment activities, events, programs, outreach and scholarships. Some local lodges network with various Swedish and Scandinavian organizations bringing the organization to a different level of professionalism, business associations and friendship.

Official Publication[edit]

The official publication of the Vasa Order of America is the Vasa Star (Swedish: Vasastjärnan) and as of fall 2013 the publication is included with Nordstjernan a Swedish American publication.

Programs[edit]

Swedish-American of the Year[edit]

Since 1960, The Vasa Order of America has selected a prominent American citizen of Swedish birth or descent to become Swedish-American of the Year. Every year the two Swedish District Lodges of the Vasa Order of America select an American of Swedish descent to be The Swedish-American of the Year. The Swedish-American of the Year is honored during Sweden-America Days in various places in Sweden. A tablet containing the names of all award recipients is kept in the Swedish Emigrant Institute (Swedish: Svenska Emigrantinstitutet) in Växjö, Småland, Sweden.[8]

Scholarships[edit]

At the Grand Lodge, District Lodge and Local Lodge levels you will find scholarship opportunities for higher education, Foreign Exchange, Language camps, Swedish camps and Elder camp.

The scholarships offered can be found at the Vasa Order of America website and the District Lodges and Local Lodges. The main qualification for applicants is to be a member for at least one year prior before applying for the scholarship.

Vasa National Archives[edit]

Located in Bishop Hill, Ill., the Vasa National Archives is a museum and home to artifacts.

Vasa Park/Vasa Park Association[edit]

Throughout the USA you will find Vasa Parks that host Swedish events. Some of the Vasa Parks are leased out for public events.

  • Southern California, Agoura Hills

Clubs and Groups[edit]

  • Folk Dance Club
  • Vasa Choir
  • Activity Clubs
  • Past District Master Club
  • Genealogy Club
  • Youth Club

Scandinavian Celebrities and Music[edit]

Denmark[edit]

Finland[edit]

Iceland[edit]

Norway[edit]

Sweden[edit]

  • Swedish House Mafia


References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Anderson, Philip J.; Dag Blanck Swedes in the Twin Cities:Immigrant Life and Minnesota’s Urban Frontier (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001) ISBN 0-87351-399-1

External links[edit]

Other Swedish American Organizations USA and Abroad[edit]

  • Swedish American Chamber of Commerce [1]
  • Scandinavian American Cultural and Historical Foundation, Thousand Oaks, California [2]
  • Scandinavian Cultural Center of Santa Cruz, California [3]
  • Scandinavian General Assembly of the Carolinas (SAGA) [4]
  • Facebook: Scandinavian American International