Saturday, April 28, 2012

Special Events and Festivals in Lapland

Not only is Lapland home to a lot of snow and snow-related activities, it is a cultural hub for northern Scandinavia as well. The native peoples of Lapland are the Sami (previously called the Lapps – although this is now considered to be a derogatory term), who continue to have a lasting connection with the land. In addition to Sami cultural events, a number of festivals are held year-round throughout the region.

In March, the Giant Snowmobile Enduro is held for snowmobile enthusiasts and professionals alike, whilst April each year brings the internationally-renowned snowball fighting competition Yukigassen to Kemijärvi. The snowball fighting competition’s European Championship will be held in Kemijärvi in April 2011. Yukigassen, literally translated from Japanese as ‘snow battle’, involves a snowball fight taking place inside a specially-marked court with referees, and is a reasonably popular sport in northern Finland.

During summer, the biennial International Woodcarving Symposium occurs at midsummer’s time. The Symposium, held every second year in Kemijärvi since 1985, aims to promote sculpting and cultural traveling worldwide. Another summer event available in Lapland is RuskaSwing, held every September. RuskaSwing features traditional jazz and swing music sourced from all over Finland. If you’re a jazz or swing music enthusiast, you’re bound to find something you enjoy at RuskaSwing. Even if you don’t, the Northern Lights concert is not to be missed!

No matter what time of the year you visit Lapland, you are almost certain to find something interesting to do. Whether it be tobogganing or music appreciation, Lapland has something for everyone who doesn’t mind the cold! If you’re looking for a summer escape, Lapland is certainly not the place to visit, even though temperatures of up to 20º C have been reported during the summer.

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