Swedish Lapland: Jokkmokk Sámi market
With December just around the corner, maybe you’re starting to feel a little more in the Christmas spirit and are contemplating at which Christmas market to spend some of your hard-earned cash? You may be familiar with the world-famous Christmas markets held in Prague, Barcelona, Brussels and Vienna, but what about the less known, but nonetheless fascinating, winter market in Jokkmokk, Sweden?
If you want to wait for the festive frenzy to subside at the Christmas markets, you may wish to embark upon a Lapland adventure next February, when the indigenous Sámi people of Sweden host the Jokkmokk Sámi winter market: one of the largest and most celebrated attractions in Lapland.
A small Sámi introduction
The Sámi are an indigenous people inhabiting Arctic and sub-Arctic regions of Norway, Finland, Sweden and the Kola peninsula in Russia, a land collectively known as Sápmi. There are approximately 75,000 Sami people, who speak wonderful and diverse dialects from the wider Sápmi melting pot. Roughly 20,000 of these aboriginal people would call Sweden home.
Jokkmokk Sámi winter market
Jokkmokk, the epicentre of Sápmi culture, is a small Swedish town which hosts the annual 409-year-old Sámi winter market. The winter market opens on the first Thursday of February each year and spans three days, encompassing colourful traditional activities, including folk dancing, reindeer racing, dog sledding, joiking (similar to yodelling) and authentic fashion shows. If you’re a true food-lover, Jokkmokk will not fail to please. Voted the food capital of Sweden for 2014, Jokkmokk offers unique expertise on the region’s natural produce. You’ll be able to sample some delicious indigenous food such as reindeer ‘shavings’ sarnies, berries (in their abundant forms!), game fish, local cheeses, smoked reindeer kebabs, mouth-watering marmalades and soft bread, to name just a few of the appetising edibles on your typical Sámi smorgasbord!
Jokkmokk winter market reflects the Sámi’s valuable relationship with the reindeer and features skilled craftsman selling arts, crafts and jewellery which use different reindeer materials such as their antlers and hides. The market attracts an influx of young Sámi artists and designers each year, many of which are schooled in Jokkmokk, who in their designs demonstrate a refreshing fusion of traditional Sámi styles with a twist of modern influences, which have helped to evolve the Sámi artistic genre.
A taste of 2014’s market
Last February’s market witnessed a wonderful selection of cultural events, creative craftwork and culinary treats. As well as campfires, storytelling, evening twilight, northerly artisans and sellers, there was also a programme jam-packed with silent films, eco-conferences, art exhibitions, arts and crafts workshops, Northern Lights husky tours and forest ski tours.
Combat your post-Christmas blues by booking your 2015 Scandinavian escapade to True Lapland, home of the Sámi - the last aboriginal people of Europe. If you’d like to go to Lapland to immerse yourself in the rich Sámi traditions, you can book an Arctic Spirit trip with Transun where you will be given a wonderful opportunity to sample the Sámi way of life; from lassoing and herding reindeer to visiting the Sámi museum and knife factory, your appetite for cultural discovery will be truly satisfied!