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Sami Easter Festival

April 13, 2011

If you happen to be in Northern Europe around the 20th of April, I recommend heading to the Finnmark region of Norway, to a town called Kautokeino. Kautokeino, which means “open land that bristles with sedge from the forest” in Sami (according to a Norwegian tourism website)  is a more or less permanent Sami community of 3000 people (more so in the winter, less so in the summer) that boasts a Sami cultural center, a reindeer breeding institute and a craft school and, in the spring, features an almost week long celebration solely focused on contemporary and traditional Sami art, culture, sport and history. Sami and visitors from all over the world are invited to attend the annual Easter Festival; you can find out more about the festival (its history, program, and other necessary information) here:

http://www.samieasterfestival.com/index.html

Even if you cannot attend, I suggest checking out the website. There are some amazing pictures of reindeer “sledding,” performing artists and other winter scenes from the area. The website is also in English.

In honor of the Sami and the Easter Festival, here is a poem by the great Sami poet, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää:

71. the land

is different

when you have lived there

wandered


sweated

frozen


seen the sun

set rise

disappear return


the land is different

when you know

here are

roots

ancestors


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