It may have been March but in Northern Lapland, the temperatures still hovered in the minus category -- centigrade, that is, but still frigid enough that I couldn't wait to snuggle near a fire. Luckily, my group and I were able to bail out from the frigid temperatures at the family-owned Inari Reindeer Farm. There, Jani invited us into one of several teepee-like structures or kotas where we found a stone fireplace with a blazing fire smack in the center of the circular space where we gathered, drinking tea or coffee from our birch cups and listening to what it means to be a member of a Sámi tribe, the indigenous people that settled in, among other places, Northern Finland.
Last week I blogged about our many reindeer adventures and the reindeer facts we all learned.
Now, Jani's tales are interrupted by his mother who is dressed in a traditional outfit and carries a drum made of reindeer skin and birch wood towards the fireplace. He tells us that a drum, which the musician uses to tell stories, must always be heated before playing: it actually improves the sound quality. His mom treats us to several deep-throated songs or joiks that all seem to have a mournful or melancholy quality. The first revolves around tales of their family, the second is dedicated to a bear hunt -- see the video (below). Another is a song to the fire, which is central to the life of the Sámi people.
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What a treat to visit such an intimate place and get a real feel for the area and its people!
Hi Sheryl, It was quite a surprise when we were invited to listen to these traditional songs. What a joy!
When I was a little girl, I had a book that showed children from around the world in their native costumes. It started the fire in me to travel. And one of those pictures was of Laplanders (Sami) with their reindeer. You had a remarkable experience. Sorry to say my only Sami experience (in northern Sweden) was EATING reindeer in a Sami restaurant. But one of my childhood dreams was realized--I met Laplanders/Sami.
Hi Vera Marie, It's wonderful to find out propelled you into your desire to travel. And lovely to find out that you were able to read a children's book that included information on the Sami. I'm glad I finally was able to experience a bit of their lifestyle as well.
This trip sounds unique - I'm still thinking about the reindeer from your other post!
Hi merr, yes, reindeer are pretty special creatures.
Love that you got to hang out with the indigenous folks here. I must admit, Finland hasn't really been on my radar for travel, but now I wouldn't mind visiting!
Hi Jane, None of my friends or colleagues have been to Finland either. But they each have added it to their lists.
What an amazing experience. I've never even thought of visiting Finland but you make it sound so amazing.
Hi MyKidsEatSquid, So glad you enjoyed this piece. Finland is a country definitely worth returning to. There's so much to see in every season.
Enjoyed the blog post!
Hi Vacation Remix, Glad you enjoyed reading this post.
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