As part of the first leg of my four-part, year-long Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship project, I am focusing on climate change effects on the Sami reindeer economy. The first week of my 5-week journey was spent at the humble village of Kautokeino (cow-too-cane-o) in Finnmark County of Norway’s far north.
The town boasts one hotel, two churches, thousands of colorful folk costumes and one of the most improbable Easter festivals in all of Scandinavia. After slumbering through the Arctic winter’s constant darkness, Kautokeino comes alive each spring amid the vast whiteness of Scandinavia’s Lappland region for a magical, four-day reawakening called the Sami Easter Festival. Townspeople emerge from snow-laden homes in ornate finery of blue, gold, red and silver to attend three nights of elaborate folk and pop concerts, reindeer and snowmobile races, and to celebrate Easter.