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Easter with the Laps
Easter in Kautokeino (Guovdageaidnu)

Do You want to know more ? Check out the Festival web-site; http://www.saami-easterfestival.org

At Easter-time the reindeers start their annual journey from the inland to the coast. Easter is an important holiday-celebration for the Laps. Kautokeino (Guovdageaidnu is the official lappish name) is a natural place to meet during the Easter and the start of moving from the inland to the coast. Meeting with friends and family for Easter celebrations opens the opportunity of performing weddings and baptism at the same time. The tiny, redpainted wooden church is central during the whole of Easter. Tourists from home and abroad have a busy time with their cameraes to make gourdious pictures of the Laps, dressed up in their colourful - and beautiful - local feast-suits. (As elsewhere in Norway each community have their own National dress - design, but the gourdious "Kautokeino-dress" with colourful borders on pleating is probably the most famous).
In addition a lot of social and culturel events happens for the whole week. Reindeer-racing has got world-wide famous. (Once we attended, Japanese and Italian television were present for the whole week.) In Hætta, Finland, one has a large fair, and even ski-racing, where the skier is attatched to a reindeer ahead.




To stay in Kautokeino during Easter time is an adventure unable to describe- it has to be experienced! You probably won't find a more spectaculare and exotic view anywhere in the world. And the race is a very exciting event. Even if the best reindeers are chosen - it can be very stubborn and wilful. You can't train it like an ordinary racing horse. Suddenly it can decide not to run at all, or definitely not in the racing course - and the drama is fully present. The contest is divided into several classes, for children and youth as well. All over the village the moode is high and very special . One of the special atmospheres I remember most vividly is the Lap attending our table at the coffe-shop - humming the classical, thousand- years- old Lapsongs to himself. (That's one of the times we really wished to understand more of the Lappish language!)