Arctic Midsummer – party time with pagan roots

In the European Arctic Midsummer nowadays marks mostly the start of the summer holidays. But at the roots of this big holiday, celebrated on or close to the longest day of the year, are pre-christian traditions. Asking from the spirits for a good harvest and for protection from evil forces were at the centre of …

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Spirituality of abandoned Arctic Infrastructure

So-called 'ghost towns' attract people in a certain sense, the ailing beauty of their ruins and the atmosphere of silence that is so different from the silence that you experience when you are somewhere out on the tundra in the Arctic in a snow-desert. But when I recently walked with a friend through an abandoned …

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Trust Versus Paranoia: Can the Siberian fire spirit explain the spectacular failure of the UK Covid track and trace app?

Piers Vitebsky and Roza Laptander are going to give an interesting example on how to de-provincialise Arctic social sciences. This time on a topic that could hardly be more timely: they refer to their elaborate ethnographies of indigenous Siberians' communications with the fire spirit to explain why apps to track the corona virus may fail. …

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Markku Lehmuskallio in Rovaniemi – Pre-screening meeting with the film maker

for many of our readers Markku Lehmuskallio won’t need an introduction. He is a world acclaimed film maker, and a friend of our team. Some of you may remember their previous visit, when we hosted them with some reindeer meat. See here https://arcticanthropology.org/2012/08/31/anastasia-lapsui-and-markku-lehmusskallio-guests-of-the-team-in-rovaniemi/ This time Markku continues his loyalty to us in the North and …

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Ysyakh 2020 – solstice festival online

Midsummer, solstice on the 21 June is for many northern peoples and cultures an important holiday. In Finland it's called Juhannus and a state holiday. In Yakutia, where I am now, it's called Ysyakh, and considered the Sakha people's new year day. The 2020 celebrations obviously come in a very different format in comparison to …

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Sacred Site worshipping for good health in Corona times

Yamal has a legally protected sacred sites inventory: here, Angalskiy Mys Today in the morning I was just about to brew my breakfast coffee, when my friend Mikhail Okotetto called and told me "we need to go and feed the sacred site here, come along, right now". I had 5 minutes to grab my stuff …

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The Khanty Bear Feast revisited

I have visited the Western Siberian Khanty in the vicinity of the oil towns in the Surgut region for twenty years now. Never could I have imagined I would see a performance of the famous Khanty Bear Ceremony documented thirty years ago by the Estonian intellectual and film director Lennar Meri in his film ”The …

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”Shamanism, Symbolism and Culture”

”Shamanism, Symbolism and Culture. Role and function of art in the transmission of culture and cultural practices” The University of Lapland's Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi, Finland, is pleased to announce confirmation of a 2 day International Shamanism Seminar which will be held on 27th - 28th of November 2014. The key speaker is Mihaly Hoppal from …

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“Before the Snow” – A documentary about Siberian people published online

The film by Christian Vagt features three important indigenous leaders and story tellers from the Khanty and Forest Nenets communities of Western Siberia – Josif Kechimov, Yuri Vella and Agrafena Pesikova. It is a short documentary filmed in 2007 in the West Siberian Taiga about indigenous concepts of their relationship with ghosts and the danger …

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