What if you could experience a unique culture that has preserved its ancient ways for centuries? In Lapland, the Sami people have been living in harmony with nature, and their culture is a wonderful discovery. Let’s take an adventure to explore one of the most captivating yet often overlooked cultures in the world – Lapland’s enchanting Sami culture.
-Unveiling Lapland’s Sami Culture
The Land of the Sami People
- The Sami people, also known as the Laplanders, are an Indigenous group that live in the Lapland region of Northern Scandinavia.
- They have their own unique language and culture, which has been part of the region for hundreds of years.
- Traditionally, their livelihood was based on reindeer herding, fishing, and subsistence hunting.
Sami Cultural Traditions
- The Sami people practice the traditional beliefs of “noaidi”, or ancestral spirituality, in which the spirits of their ancestors guide them and protect their land.
- The Sami traditional music is played on a variety of instruments, including the kantine, a wind instrument, and the jouhikko, a bowed string instrument.
- They also celebrate a number of festivals throughout the year, including the Sami National Day.
Preserving Sami Culture
- The Sami people have struggled to protect their culture and land from the impacts of colonization, industrialization, and climate change.
- The Sami Parliament, established in 1993, works towards protecting their human, land, and cultural rights.
- Various organizations, including the Saami Council, work to promote the preservation and revitalization of Sami culture and language.
-Exploring the Ancient Traditions of Finno-Ugric People
Deep in the unspoiled wilderness of Lapland lays a precious culture; one that has remained intact for centuries despite the changing of times. The Sami people are one of the oldest cultures to remain in the region, and they have enthralled generations with their mesmerizing traditions.
Majestic nature and harsh climates have always been a part of the Sami way of life, and it has shaped their way of life in countless ways. From their reindeer herding to eco-friendly farming practices, the Sami continue to honor the traditions that have been passed down through the generations.
Central to any Sami experience are the array of cultural customs and activities they have maintained throughout time. Engaging with Sami singing, fascinating stories, and traditional costumes can give you a clear insight into this enchanting culture and their struggles throughout decades and centuries.
Sami culture also excels in exciting arts and crafts. From sophisticated wooden handicrafts to intricate jewelry, it’s easy to find a souvenir to take with you on your trip. Or you can try your hand at traditional Sami cooking, and get your taste buds excited with delicious holiday fare.
The Finno-Ugric culture is one brimming with vibrant heritage, and it’s important to explore and understand these often-overlooked traditions. By coming face to face with the Sami culture, you can really get a sense of the resplendent history and secluded beauty of Lapland.
-Introducing the Sami Cultural Treasures
Tucked away in the Farthest North
Once thought of as a myth, the ancient Sami culture is alive and well in Lapland – With its captivating snow-capped mountains and steeped in a way of life that dates back thousands of years, it is an awe-inspiring part of the world.
The Sami people have long been stewards of this rugged tundra, with deep-rooted knowledge that touches on fishing, hunting, reindeer herding and more. As part of their culture, the Sami have their own language, music, folklore and traditional dress.
An Ancient Way of Life
In a region where technology has not yet taken over, the old-world lifestyle and nature’s untouched beauty still reign supreme. Life is marked by the passing of seasons, and traditional dwellings are still used in the region. For some, the traditional drum is still played in religious ceremonies.
Exploring the Sami Heritage
Come to Lapland and explore the timelessness of the Sami culture, as well as its nature- and animal-based activities. Although its people carry a small population, the Sami culture is robust, with a variety of age-old songs, superstitions and sayings that have been shared across generations. Uncover an enchanting world that has been woven into the blanket of snow over centuries.
- Take a tour in the iconic Saami territory of the Skolt area;
- join a husky safari;
- try traditional Saami dishes such as reindeer meat or .rmarmelade;
- visit the Sámi National Cultural Center in the village of Karasjok;
- test your strength with Lappish bow and arrow shooting.
There’s no better place to discover an ancient, yet vibrant culture that continues to thrive in the North.
-Understanding the Reindeer Herding Practice
The enchanting culture of Lapland is closely intertwined with the ancient reindeer herding practice. For centuries, the Sami people have lived in harmony between the nature and reindeer herds of Lapland. In many ways, reindeer herding makes up the core of Sami society and their beloved culture.
For those curious to learn more, here is a glimpse into some of the aspects that make Sami reindeer herding unique.
- Migration and Seasonal Herding : The Sami people have traditionally relied on seasonal herding of reindeer in different territories. This allows the reindeer herds to move according to seasons, and benefit from different grazing grounds. Furthermore, the reindeer herds often move during winter to charcoal burning grounds where intersect with other tribes, allowing them to exchange cultures and trade goods.
- Reindeer Husbandry: Reindeer husbandry is an integral part of the Sami society. For centuries, the Sami people have been carefully managing their herds for the benefit of their people. Reindeer husbandry has been a key part in both Sami and Lapland life, helping to provide food, clothing, economic enterprise and a spiritual and religious bond with nature.
- Tradition and Knowledge:For the last three centuries, the Sami people have been sharing their unique knowledge of reindeer husbandry, practice with future generations. This ancestral knowledge has allowed the Sami people to maintain their traditions and to evolve with the changing times.
- Reindeer Husbandry Organizations:To maintain their herding practices, the Sami people have formed organizations around the reindeer industry. These organizations are responsible for issuing ownership rights to the Sami people as well as for protecting the rights of the reindeer, maintaining good standards for animal welfare and for the ethical herding of reindeer.
This is just a small glimpse into Lapland’s enchanting Sami culture, and the ancient reindeer herding practices which have been passed down for centuries.
-Uncovering Sami Dress, Language and Music
Exploring the Sami dress
- Discovering the traditional and indigenous garb of Lapland’s Sami , from the timeless kolt to stunning jewellery
- How their clothing has remained crisp and vibrant even in cold temperatures
- The types of fabrics popularly used by Sami in their clothing, hats and footwear
Uncovering the Sami tongue
- Examining the origin and development of the lone Uralic language that is still spoken by the indigenous Sami population
- The similarities and differences between Sami and the languages of their neighbouring countries
- The impact that language has had in the preservation of Sami culture
Unveiling the Sami’s musical heritage
- Understanding the ancient origins of the polyphonic music played on the distinctive Tagelharpa
- How the Sami have built upon their musical tradition with modern musicians adding their own unique style
- The place of music in the preservation of cultural identity for the Sami people
-Tasting the Traditional Sami Cuisine
Digging Deeper into Lapland’s Culture:
Travelling to the mesmerizing destinations of Lapland, a region known for its captivating beauty, is not just about admiring the landscapes and viewing the bountiful wildlife. It’s an opportunity to explore and discover the unique culture of the Sami people, the indigenous people of this region, which has existed for centuries.
Tasting traditional Sami dishes is one of the best ways to uncover the true depths of the culture. some of the iconic delicacies include:
- Suovas: Smoked reindeer meat
- Rovvoamu: Fried smoked reindeer meat
- Nasalats: Reindeer stock boiled with spices and herbs
- Goddesmat: A special type of porridge made with eggs, butter, and wholemeal flour
These traditional dishes are prepared with wonderful combinations of vegetables, wild plants, reindeer meat, and fish, and unlike other cuisines, all the ingredients are found locally and are cooked in an earth oven using burnable wood.
While trying these unique dishes, tourists learn more about the culture, habits and history of Lapland just by listening to the amusing stories and old tales that are exchanged between the locals and the tourists while sharing their meals around the fire.
-Observing the Sami Calendar and Celebrations
Nestled away in the freezing winterlands of Northern Scandinavia, you will find the Sami people and their unique culture. Deeply rooted in the region, the Sami people’s traditions and customs have changed little over the centuries in their attempt to stay true to their cultural heritage.
With its own calendar of events and festivities, Lapland’s Sami culture is full of enchantment and fun for those seeking adventure and cultural exploration. From reindeer herding and equated sámi days, to brightly coloured ceremonial masks and indigenous festivities, let’s explore one of the most culturally distinct regions of the world!
The Sami calendar consists of four equated months, each with its own named festivals, which dictate the traditional yearly cycle of events:
- Guhkesvuodna: The New Year Festival
- Goahti: A month of fasting in preparation for Easter
- Ájgu: Celebrating the summer solstice and the lighting of bonfires
- Mieaigoahti: The Midsummer Festival
Each month’s festivities are a chance for the Sami people to come together and celebrate the seasons and their customs, keeping alive the ancient traditions of their ancestors. From singing, dancing and eating fancy pastries, to weaving and divining the future, the festivals are a feast of fun for everyone.
This ancient culture colorful array of activities is sure to offer a truly memorable experience for anyone visiting Lapland. So if you wish to make the most of your Sami adventure, take the time to observe and participate in one of their many seasonal celebrations.
-Exploring Tourist Attractions Bearing Sami Traditions
Travelling to Lapland’s Finnmark region, set to the far-northern coast of Norway, is a must-see experience for all adventurers looking to immerse in Sami culture. Enveloped in endless hectares of snowy wilderness and magical places like the Lyngen Alps, the wonders of Lapland are without a doubt the equivalent to big dreams and far gone places.
On any visit to Lapland, you cannot miss the many impressive cultural monuments celebrating the Sami way of life. Respectfully exploring these wonders of nature and culture brings a deeper understanding of the region’s history and traditions powerful to the people that have lived here for centuries. Here are the must-see attractions in Lapland that will not disappoint:
- Gándáras, a ceremonial site and place of worship in Kautokeino, located just atop a large hill in the middle of the valley
- Skiedjieskuolo Village, 138 years old today, is located in Karesuando near the Swedish-Finnish border. Remnants here of traditional huts contain information on Sámi culture and history
- Rotvállu, the Myre game preserve, is located along Norway’s border with Finland. It’s a beautifully tranquil place, with the wide mouth of the Muonio River surrounded by several stockades and forests
- Kuvivaara, a
traditional village, is believed to be in existence since the 1700’s. You can find here numerous ancient Sami dwellings, traditional reindeer traps and boat landings.
- Polmak, a sacred site located in the Alta region, is an important site full of thousands of petroglyphs that can be seen from the top of the hill
Lapland offers travellers a rare glimpse of traditional Sámi history and culture. Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, exploring this wonderful corner of Norway is a unique and unforgettable experience. From the awe-inspiring landscapes to the enchanting Sami attractions, Lapland is a destination you’re sure to remember for a lifetime.
-Suggested Experiences for Fully Immersing into Sami Culture
- Visiting Sápmi, the Sami Territory: Crossing the “Arctic Circle” and getting a first hand experience of the Lapland’s sub-arctic environment is the most authentic way for immersing into the Sami culture. It’s a harrowing experience that will be filled with history, culture, and natural beauty.
- Experience Sami Costume and Music: Joining dozens of festivals organized by the Sami people, will give you an opportunity to look, listen, watch and taste the authentic Sami culture. Dress up like a Sami person, experience the music and join the dances where possible.
- Join a Sami Tour: Taking a Sami tour will grant you with direct interaction with their culture. You will be able to learn different survival skills, as well as how to identify wild medicinal plants used by the Sami people king those harsh conditions.
- Stay in a Sami Camp: Adventure seekers can live like a Sami for a few days and learn how the ancient Sami hunted and fished for their subsistence. This is an unforgettable experience, and participants will be taught how to make fire, construct a shelter, and cook in the traditional Sami way.
That’s a glimpse into the magical world of Lapland’s Sami culture Now, why not plan your own visit to one of the many Sami cultural sites and experience the ancient traditions that make this culture so unique? Immerse yourself in their fascinating way of life and unwrap the spellbinding history and unique customs of this mystical corner of the world.