"For 50 years, the scattered singles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Europe’s north have gathered most summers for Festinord," writes Erin Clare Brown for The Wall Street Journal. "Equal parts spiritual summer camp and singles mixer, the five-day conference has become an essential part of the region’s LDS dating game."
Festinord, a singles event for 18-30-year-old Latter-day Saints in Europe, helps YSAs from around Scandinavia meet other LDS singles. But now it's gone beyond the bounds of Europe, drawing Saints from around the world.
The Wall Street Journal, explaining the importance of marriage to Latter-day Saints as well as their standards of abstaining from alcohol and sex before marriage, highlighted this unique event and the pressures single saints feel to start a family.
Spanning just a few days of the year, there's a lot of pressure for the singles who arrive at the event to take advantage of the rare opportunity to be with other Latter-day Saints their own age. It's only one part of the "already-tough task of seeking Latter-day love in the region," Brown says.
“You only have a few good days a year to meet everyone,” Samuel Jubell, 25, told The Wall Street Journal. “Everyone is here looking for love.”
"Of 15.6 million Mormons world-wide, church data show, just 24,000 live in Nordic countries, with sometimes thousands of miles between congregations," Brown continues. Not to mention the YSAs who come from even more remote regions all over the world. And most of the young Latter-day Saints in attendance agree: they know few Latter-day Saints in their hometown, meaning long-distance relationships are often a given.
Started in 1966, Festinord rotates between Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Originally a gathering with a few hundred in attendance, the event has grown, with Latter-day Saints making it from as far away as New Zealand. "This year, 821 singles from 31 countries attended, and for the first time, the Scandinavians were in the minority," Brown writes.
Though only a few days of the year, Festinord is helping YSAs find connections and maybe even true love with those who share their beliefs and those they might not have met otherwise.
Read more at The Wall Street Journal.