The Sami Easter Festival (Kautokeino Påskefestival) is held annually, gathering locals and tourists to join in on the festivity. Picture below as from easter 2012; spent in Kautokeino, my home town (or rather village). This is the time of year when the cultural offers in Kautokeino are at its largest, as it is the biggest event of the year.
Being close to family, the fresh air, snow-covered tundra during winter, and the easy lifestyle makes this one of my favorite places on earth.
The time doesn’t matter, but there’s something to do all day long, and someone to visit all night. When you are visiting with someone it is still tradition to serve coffee and sweets, or even hot food.
Top things to do in Kautokeino during the Sami Easter Festival
It’s great fun. I think I had the privilege of riding the oldest snowmobile in Kautokeino. It didn’t go very fast, but at least I didn’t have to worry about wrecking it.
Bring warm clothes, sausages, warm coffee, milk, and chocolate (either Kvikk Lunsj, or some other chocolate bought from Finland; 30 minutes away by car).
Sámi Grand Prix
The Sámi Eurovision. It’s the biggest deal of Easter. Everyone gets dressed up for this traditional and appreciated event. There is both traditional joik and singing.
Watch the reindeer race
This can really only be considered fun if you know one of the contestants, one of the reindeer’s or if you want to see a reindeer upfront. It is what it is. If you want to ride in a sleigh carried by a reindeer you should look anywhere near where the race is being held. This year there were two races, which wasn’t exactly to the advantage of the visitor.
Visit the Juhls’ Silvergallery
A sight in itself. Here I mostly buy Sami jewelry, as well as interior decoration for my home. This is a great place to purchase gifts that are hard to find elsewhere.
Enjoy traditional Sami food
There’s not a lot of options, and my best advice is to get to know some locals and let them know you would like to try something traditional. If you’re too crazy and no one wants to invite you there are three traditional choices:
– Thon Hotel Kautokeino: The prices are quite stiff. The food is good, but not overwhelming.
– Bákteharji: Buy a Sami kebab(!) after hours. Christ.
– Pit Stop: The best restaurant offer in Kautokeino, but you’ll have to look closely at the menu for something traditional as this is a Turkish eatery (I might be wrong).
Enjoy the rest of the festival program, and drive over the border to Enontekiö in Finland (for that chocolate mentioned above). Find out what heaven really tastes like. Tupla + Geisha..
This year the outdoor Sami Film Festival (with seats and screen made of ice) was missing. It was a shame as this is not something you can experience a lot of other places.
What was also missing was a tourist information, unless you count in the parking lot before ‘Mattaluoppal’ with the “i” sign followed with a few informative posters plastered on a board. :|
I already mentioned the two separate reindeer races, but I didn’t mention that they were held on the same day, at the exact time! :|
My rating: ♥♥♥/♥