Though Finland is the country who claims #9 on the top ten countries to visit ChristmasLightstheSoul, I thought I would share some photos and information about one specific part of the Sami culture. Northern Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia is an area of Scandinavia referred to as either Sápmi or Lappland. The people and culture indigenous to this area of the world are called the Sami people, and they have a unique history that is elegant and brutal at the same time.
Living in northern Scandinavia cannot be easy. Living within the Arctic circle, the Sami people are exposed to temperatures that are rarely seen elsewhere on Earth. Their lives revolve around the migration patterns of herds upon herds of reindeer. A single family is often responsible for the well being of an entire herd.
I could delve further into Sami history, however, I want to refrain from doing so at this time. I am currently in the process of drawing up an Ethnographic Research Proposal for my Cultural Anthropology class here at Boston University, so I hope you will return to ChristmasLightstheSoul when I upload my proposal and provide you with more insight into the incredible culture of the Sami.
However, I do want to share some information with you about the unique clothing of the Sami people. Called gákti, the traditional clothing worn by the Sami people is representative of their family, their marital status and where they are from regionally. The colors are extraordinary! The garments are worn in ceremonial situations and when the Sami are at work herding reindeer. Notice the boots; the ends of the toes are curled up similar to those types of shoes that are often associated with elves. The purpose of this design is to help the Sami walk through fresh snow, breaking the freshly laid snow to allow better compacting of the snow underneath their feet.
Many of the photographs are taken from Google Images. National Geographic did a spread on the Sami people a couple of years ago, and several of the photos below are from that spread. I take no credit for any of the photographs taken below and I found all of these photographs openly on the internet.