I sat listening to Van Halen the other day – going through my old albums, on vinyl – anyone remember those big old round things? When I got to the 1984 album and the hit Jump – something hit me. This song got me thinking on a Swedish word Ättestupa.
While David Lee Roth sees jumping as something positive, Ättestupa is quite another form of jumping – Instead of; get up, and nothing gets me down – Ättestupa means; get down and nothing gets you up again. But the phrase; Might as well jump. Jump! – works in both cases!
Ättestupa is what one could call an immaterial cultural heritage. It’s a word for a type of ancient or historic remains that really is only part of ledgends or sagas. The word comes from the Icelandic saga: Gautreks saga (aka Götriks saga) in which a cliff, (Æetternisstapi), in Götaland (a part of Sweden) is mentioned.
In this saga Göte gets lost while hunting in the woods. He ends up in cabin belonging to the poor Skavörtung family. While there he sleeps with the farmers daughter and knocks her up. This brings shame to the family – and they, except the daughter, jumps of the Æetternisstapi.
In 1664 the saga was published in Swedish by Olof Verelius. The saga got very popular during the 17th and 18th century inSweden and many saw it as a historic record. Due to this many cliffs have been named Ättestupa and legends has been spun regarding their history, people imagined that old people jumped off these cliffs as not to be bourdon to them selves or their relatives, or to rid them selves from pains or sadness.
Well, maybe, it’s time for vinyl to end up on a Ättestupa soon – but I think I hold on to them for just a little longer though 🙂
BTW – Van Halen is back together again – on tour – possibly to town near you!