A "joik" is a personal song within the Sami culture, that you are assigned by people you know well and that evolves with your own history.
It is an a capella music genre that is characterized by existing or self-invented words to evoke a subject, aimed at expressing a certain state of mind or the essence of a subject.
It has no beginning and no end like the wind.
Sofia Jannok is a Swedish Sami who enjoys blending influences from jazz, pop and joik and describes her own music as "dancing somewhere between the mystic of the northern light and the warmth of the comforting fire”
She is inspired by the vastness of the land, the people and the meetings between these elements.
You can also consider a joik as a portrait or a photo album, a collection of facts and testimonies that refer to who you are, publicly performed with your strong and weak sides displayed.
As soon as you are greeted somewhere with your own joik, you know that you are with people who know you well.
It is a recognition of your existence: you are accepted, you are at home.
A joik is a source of comfort and memory after the death of a loved one.
Singing helps to experience the emotional connection with the deceased.
In traditional Samireligion it was believed that both living beings and lifeless objects had a soul.
A priest or shaman acted as a mediator between the material and the spiritual world he consulted by bringing himself into a trance by the rhythm of magical drumming and joik music.
Or was she expressing homesickness to the ancient Sami culture, the injuries of the past and the hope of recovery of a new identity?
The original inhabitants of Northern Scandinavia are the Sami, better known to us as Lapps, a term that seems rather derogatory to them.
They live in "Sapmi", an area that stretches across northern Sweden, Finland, Norway and the Russian Kola peninsula.
Their population consists of about 70,000 to 100,000 people, about half of whom live in Norway.
The genetic origin of the Sami is still largely unknown and appears to be unique which correlates with a very long period of geographical isolation.
Imposing rock paintings on the Altafjord date from 4200 BC and refer to religious themes and ritual ceremonies connected with their hunting culture.
During the Middle Ages, the Sami traded intensively with the Vikings and later with European merchants.
They mainly sold animal skins in exchange for salt, coins and metal and developed their own monetary system.
But many armed kingdoms and nations demanded taxes in terms of leather, feathers and bones from whales, which meant that the Sami had to pay two or more governments and often even additional fines for paying taxes to another people.
This led to an overcrowded hunting, which caused the number of reindeer to decline and around 1500 the Sami began to settle down on the coast, the fjords or the lakes where they founded communities (siida) engaged in reindeer farming combined with hunting and fishing. .
About 10% stayed in the nomadic life and lived in tents (lavvu) that were easy to break up and transport.
Was the conversion to the Christianity of the Sami an alibi for destroying their animistic faith, their holy sites, their language and even their joiks?
Or was it just an excuse to levy heavy taxes on their livestock and fishing activities and to pick up and colonize their land as we see it today in the West Bank?
During the Second World War, the "East" and "Western Sami" were placed opposite each other because their "mother countries" had ended up in different camps.
Although the Sami culture was assimilated very strongly in the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish societies during the last century, in recent years there has been an improved recognition and protection of their language, their faith and age-old customs. They celebrate their own independence day and have a flag and a parliament.
Together with Finnish, Estonian and Hungarian, the Samitaal belongs to the Ugrian languages and is only spoken by less than 20,000 people.
They have a different word for reindeer that differ in color, size, antler, coat, character, strength and life phase.
There are hundreds of words for snow depending on depth, density, hardness and age. For example, there is a word for powder snow, snow that fell yesterday, for snow that is soft at the bottom and has a hard crust.
The Samitaal is also rich in words that describe family relationships.
On the other hand, most Sami learn English and Norwegian at school next to their mother tongue and Icelandic, Finnish or Danish as the fourth language (Norwegians and Swedes understand each other quite well).
This is of great use to them in tourism with which they can increase their financial status and at the same time cherish and protect their cultural and natural heritage.
Although the tribulation and culture repression of the Sami in the course of the last decades has given way to a revival of their language and habits, they are still often molested in a pub by a certain group of Norwegians, especially when thery are dressed in national costumes.
The Sami suffered greatly from the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster with contamination of their fish and drinking water but they never received any compensation.
In 1993 the Swedish government abolished the exclusive right of the Sami on reindeer hunting and a year later their exclusive fishing rights on the lakes in their autonomous area were also withdrawn.
The Norwegian government tries to push them back to an ever smaller area and does so by limiting the number of reindeer, because there are too many animals in function of the land but if they then reduce their reindeer, the land is also reduced to be used for energy production (for example windmills or dams) or mining.
So in the last year there were 4 processes of Sami against the Norwegian government, all without success, the last one because they wanted a young farmer to limit his herd to 75 animals which is absolutely unlivable.
He has now stepped to Strasbourg to plead his room before the Court of Human Rights.
Most of the Sami still dream of an independent Lapland over the Scandinavian and Russian borders but there is no such a thing as a militant movement.
"Reindeer carry antlers that waste once a year and then grow again," said a Lap who has 7000 beasts: "In non-castrated males it happens once a year after mating because testosterone production then decreases and in castrated males this happens in the spring. The females also have antlers.
There is always a leader, usually the largest and/or oldest reindeer, but when he loses his antlers, he (temporarily) also loses his dominant position."
"Ever the Norwegians will lose their antlers", he added delicately.
Tromso is a bustling metropolis with 75,000 inhabitants almost 600 km above the Arctic Circle
It originated almost 11,000 years ago as a small settlement and turned out to be the mecca for expeditions in the Arctic North in the 19th century.
During the Second World War, Tromso was the capital of "free" Norway for a few weeks.
It has a university with 10,500 students and a internationally reputated healthcare system.
The city center is located in Tromsoya, an island connected by bridges and tunnels with the mainland and other islands that surround it.
Once outside the city's protective prosperity and maritime climate, the domestic temperature drops rapidly by around 10 degrees to exceptionally -40 ° to -50 ° in winter with meter-high snow walls.
The Sami protect themselves with special shoes, gloves and a hood made of animal skins such as the arctic fox and the seal.
The snowman tells us that the sun leaves both the city and its surroundings on 21 November and will return on January 18th
The Ishav Cathedral was designed by Jan Inge Hovig and built in 1965.
Its shape symbolizes the icebergs, the pole nights and the northern lights.
The organ of the church dates from 2005 in a modern style with a French-romantic touch.
It refers to the form of ice floes and sails in association with the Arctic Ocean and perhaps also to the icy wind that you bump along on the slippery Tromsobrug when you want to pull the cathedral from the city center near to you.
It is four o'clock in the afternoon and it would have been pitch dark in Tromso without the light symphony performed night and night by the hotels and the shops and their streets in Christmas time.
He is just in time in this Silent Night to worship in Norwegian the newborn Emmanuel in the Domkirch.
A few hours later, still digesting a lonely Christmas dinner, he walks into the city, along a cemetery, on his way to the "Lake of the Priest".
Together with a Mexican, a Montenegrin and a German and a Chinese couple, he is greeted by an elongated green star who tells in the north that Jesus was born.
Peace on earth to all people of goodwill and it is the unknown internationals who wish him a Merry Christmas.
On the way back he thinks about the previous Christmas and the one before and those many years before and before.
He meets the child he was himself, the children he raised, the children that will hopefully come later.
Aurora can not reveal the look of the next Christmas.
The polar light or Aurora Borealis is associated with eruptions (protuberances) on the sun where large quantities of charged particles are thrown into the universe.
The earth's magnetic field ensures that the particle flow is deflected in the earth's environment and in an acceleration penetrates the atmosphere near the north and south poles.
When such an energy flow is ejected to earth, it hits the various atoms in the upper air layers, about 3 days later resulting in the evocation of magical polar light.
The zone in which this happens is like a 2000 km wide ring around the magnetic north and south pole that includes countries such as Northern Scandinavia, Iceland, the south of Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia.
Where the star stayed still
Was it the snow or the suddenly rising northern lights above his hotel a few minutes before midnight, which led him to a place where he had never celebrated Christmas: never so alone and yet a feeling of coming home.
Weddings at the Sami are exuberant both in terms of time (days) and in terms of number of guests (500 is on the low side).
When a boy wants to marry a girl, he will drive to her house by reindeer together with a witness, ringing at the girl’s parents door to introduce him.
When the girl comes out and puts the reindeer in the stable, it is a signal that the boy is welcome.
He was focussing on her at the snowshoe trip, but she had hardly noticed him.
A few hours later she moved behind him at the grocery store but she didn’t pay attention on him.
On Christmas she took a table at the steakhouse on the other side because she did not see him.
He drove to her with his reindeer and asked her to join him.
She got up, brought his reindeer to the stable and sat at his table.
She was of Lebanese-American origin; she was a Muslim with Jewish roots and she worked for Unilever in Saudi Arabia but he forgot to ask her name.
Her story was as "sami" as his.
For a moment they were "samen" (dutch word for “together”)
Thanks to :
-Nordic info and Dominicus Noorwegen