The Jokkmokk Winter Festival

By | Category: Travel destinations

For three days next week, the 2nd to the 4th of February, Swedish Lapland will celebrate the Jokkmokk Winter Festival.

For over 400 years, this town has been a regular marketplace and meeting point for the Sámi to trade goods, catch up and compete with each other. At the festival  there will be reindeer races and traditional exhibitions, tastings of reindeer meat, moose and other dishes like the local cheese.  For those interested in Sámi handicraft there is much on offer including Sámi duodji (handicrafts made from wood, bone, antlers, leather and roots)  and Stoorstålka.  (weaving and the tools used in weaving as well as yarn.)

You can also visit the Ájtte museum, the Museum of Swedish Mountain and Sámi Museum but really the museum of the culture of the Sámi or you could go to school. The Sämij Åhpadusguovdásj is a Sami education institution with an aim of providing training to the Sámi people.  Where will you find another school that will tach you how to herd reindeer?

Asa break from schoolwork, you could watch the daily reindeer caravan as it goes through the town.

In the Swedish part of Lapland, the Sámi make up the vast bulk of the population – a population that amounts to just a quarter of a million in an area the size of England.

Apart from observing Sámi life, this is a place where from November until May you are virtually guaranteed to find snow so skiers looking for downhill or cross-country skiing visit in increasing numbers. Because of there being little light pollution, it is also a good place to await sightings of the northern lights. No wonder it is claimed that the Sámi have over two hundred words for our single word – “snow.”

You might think that for Britons to get to this remote part of Sweden would take some effort. Yet a flight to Stockholm and then a domestic flight on to Kiruna (Sweden’s most northerly town) or one of the other northern airports would take only about five hours from the UK. Although the festival lasts just those few days, is it any wonder that Lapland is being a weekend break destination.

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