Saami confirmation

Kautokeino, Norway

In Kautokeino, where nine out of ten inhabitants are Saami, the period just before Easter is traditionally a time for life cycle rituals – baptisms, weddings and confirmations. The ceremonies are held in the large wooden church in the centre of the community. When Easter is over, the spring migration begins and the herders leave with their flocks of reindeer for summer pasture on the Atlantic coast.


When it is time for the confirmees to take the first communion they kneel at the altar rails, showing the soles of their reindeer-skin boots to the congregation.

Dressing for the church ceremony

Dressing for the church ceremony takes time. Here, an aunt helps her niece to keep her hair in place beneath her high bonnet.

Confirmation blessing

Dressed in colourful and ornate Saami costumes that are special to Kautokeino, the confirmees kneel at the altar to receive the confirmation blessing from the minister.

After the church ceremony

After the church ceremony relatives and friends go to the confirmee’s home for the reception. Photographs are taken outside in the snow.

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