• Chill out with the Sámi people

    The Sami possess a rich cultural heritage and are known for their close connection to the land they live on. Whether you are the adventurous type or like a more leisurely pace, let the Sámi people guide you into their world and lifestyle. Inari, Enontekiö and Utsjoki are some of the best places to explore the mythical past and present of the Sámi.

  • The architecturally unique Sajos is the new culture centre of the Sámi in Inari village. The seat of the Sámi Parliament and plenty of activities like workshops for Sámi handicraft can all be found there. Here you can see the amazing centre bathing in the Northern Lights.

  • Traditional Sámi baby cot made out of reindeer hide and colorful felt and ribbons.

  • The Sámi year begins in May when the reindeer calves are born. Reindeer herding is a central part of the Sámi culture. Get to know these semi-domesticated animals at reindeer farms, in the wild, or at reindeer races.

  • “Kota” is a temporary dwelling and shelter used by the Sámi. It has a design similar to a Native American tipi but is less vertical and more stable in high winds. It enables the Sámi reindeer herders to follow their herds on the treeless fells of Lapland.

  • Snowmobiles – the modern means of transport for the Sámi in Lapland.

  • The wonders of Siida, Inari – a central meeting place and window to the Sámi culture and the diverse nature of Northern Lapland. At Siida, you can acquaint yourself with changing exhibitions on culture, art and nature throughout the year.

  • A British couple gets married in Lapland in the Igloo Village, in the snow chapel of Hotel Kakslauttanen (February 2011). Tourism is an important source of income for many Sámi people.

  • This Sámi piece of jewelry is known as a risku or a solju. It is the symbol of the sun and it is decorated with leek flowers. It is worn on the traditional Sámi dress to keep the scarf in place. The use of the risku comes from the Sámi wedding tradition.

  • Furry shoes or nutukkaat made out of reindeer skin will keep your feet warm even in extremely cold weather. They are traditional Sámi winter shoes and they are still used today.

  • The Sámi father and son, Lauri and Timo Hetta, are reindeer herders who live in the village of Vuotso. Here they are seen in their former home place in Purnumukka wearing traditional Sámi hats.

  • Shamanism and beliefs in the supernatural have always been an essential part of the old Sámi way of life. One of the most famous Sámi tales regards the inception of the Northern Lights; the Fox ran across the night sky, sweeping the Heavens with its tail, leaving behind a spectacular glow for the people of the North to see.

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Chill out with the Sámi people

Leave the clock behind and explore the vast expanses of the breathtaking Sámi homeland, join in the festivals and activities of the locals, and get to know their way of life. We introduce you to just a few “Sámi things” you can experience over the course of a year.

The Sámi area of Northern Lapland offers year round unlimited outdoor and indoor activities, and most of all close contact with the unique culture of the Sámi – the only indigenous people of the European Union. The Sámi live in the Northern parts of Finland, Norway and Sweden as well as in parts of North-Eastern Russia. In Finland, the Sámi population is approximately 9 000 strong, and the preservation of their endangered language and culture is governed by an autonomous parliament of Inari, Finland.

Let the Sámi guide and teach you

Accompany the “cowboys of the North”:  join the Sámi in the municipalities of Inari, Enontekiö and Utsjoki, the only area in Finland with a Sámi majority. Let your Sámi hosts lead you to their reindeers and learn lasso-swinging, let them teach you their handicraft or take a lesson in Sámi cooking.

The Sámi witch drum is today a popular tourist item, originally used by medicine men as a tool, along with the Sámi chant called the joik, to fall into a trance in order to reach a level of communication with the Spirits.

A visit to the village of Inari, the heart of the Sámi homeland, and to Siida, the museum of the Finnish Sámi, is an absolute must. The outstanding, internationally acclaimed indoor and outdoor museum covers all aspects of the Sámi culture, past and present, as well as Lapland’s extraordinary environment. Siida’s enticing gift shop and the village’s many other craft shops offer plenty of interesting design products made of natural materials as well as local food and delicacies.

Fish, hunt and hike with the Sámis

You can fish with the Sámi, even in winter in the salmon rich Teno River or in the Inari Lake. Or you can hunt and pick wild mushrooms and berries like the rare golden colored cloudberry. Hike to the sacred fells, like Saana in the Kilpisjärvi area, or to the seitas, the holy stones and gateways to the spirit world. In the picturesque village of Hetta, where the Sámi culture is alive and strongest, the Fell-Sámi Visitor Centre points you to the right trails, and to Raittijärvi, the last genuine Sámi village, which has no access by road.

Join the Sámi events and celebrations

At the end of January and beginning of February, you can celebrate the end of the polar night by going to the Skábmagovat, the Indigenous Peoples’ Film and TV Production Festival in Inari or join the Sámi for their National Day celebrations on February 6.

In March and April, you can participate in ice-fishing and salmon fishing competitions or visit reindeer races all over Northern Lapland. Don’t miss the last and biggest race in Inari where the champion is crowned and reindeer herders from all over Lapland gather. The races usually end with a dance of the reindeer herders and gold-miners at the legendary Kultahovi-Hotel. That’s also the season for  baptisms, weddings, markets, concerts, and dances, when the Sámi also celebrate their most important holidays, Annunciation (March 25) and Easter. In April, the traditional Ski Race, the most northern ski-marathon in the world, is held on the tracks of an ancient mail delivery path from the village of Hetta in Finland to Kautokeino in Norway.

In the summer, you can take part in the Teno river salmon fishing championship in Utsjoki in July, while the Music Festival of Indigenous Peoples, Ijahis idja (Nightless Night), and the Triphon procession of the Russian-orthodox Skolt-Sámi through four villages all take place in August.

delicious SÁMI food

Sámi  food is always fresh and local, such as reindeer, fish, berries, game, and wild birds. Try creamy salmon soup, smoked or dried reindeer meat, willow grouse sausage, sautéed reindeer with Lappish potatoes and lingonberries, fried arctic char or salmon or Lappish bread  and cheese with cloudberry jam.

To finish it all off – visit the tradition-steeped Kalastajan Majatalo or ”the Fisherman’s Inn” at Karigasniemi where the locals meet, make music, dance and sing the not-so-traditional karaoke on weekends.

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