Jokkmokk’s Winter Market

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This is (possibly) the biggest event in Northern Sweden. At least, the one who draws more people to Lapland. And the oldest one!

Jokkmokk’s Winter Market has been taking place for 411 years! It is a place where Sami people gather and sell their products: skins, meat, shoes, jewellery, knives… Apart from the market itself, there are plenty of activities, like reindeer racing, dogsledding tours, food tasting, art exhibitions…

The Sami are the indigenous people of Scandinavia, a region that spans over Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. They are semi-nomadic people, and they have always lived on reindeer and sheep herding, fishing and trading. They even have their own Parliament!

I had been in Jokkmokk in the Summer, and I had never seen so many people gathered in Northern Sweden! When I called to book some accomodation for this weekend, all the places asked me if I was booking for 2017 (this was in August 2015!).

Besides the spirit of the market, for me, one of the most interesting things, was being able to visit some Sami buildings, like the Sami school, which I could never visit at another time. It’s incredible that reindeer herding tradition goes on, along with the art of carving knives or sewing traditional clothes.

Unfortunately, there is still some discrimination against the Sami…

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