Last modified 15.3.2011 at 13:22
PoroFeria – flamenco, fun and fierce reindeers
Text: Aleksi Ahlakorpi Photos: Pekka Kallasaari
The PoroFeria is an annual weekend festival held in Oulu in the beginning of February. In the PoroFeria the most northern and southern cultures of Europe meet each other.
Poro is reindeer in Finnish and it represents the northern Sami culture. Feria is a spanish word meaning a fair or festival. The feria tradition includes cattle market, flamenco and feast.
This year’s event was held on the 7th and 8th of February. The place was the same as two other times before: the Oulu market square. It had been changed in to an old style Sami village with laavus (traditional Sami accommodation).
People were selling northern handicrafts and food from the north. Also there was a big tent where Spanish flamenco music and tapas were sold.
Norwegian Erik Lieungh and Russian Irina Azarkina were enjoying their first PoroFeria experience. Both of them thought the idea of the festival was really interesting.
– We also have Sami people in Norway and it was kind of funny to see their culture mixed together with flamenco dancers and the southern part of Europe, says Erik.
– There were lot of laavus where people were selling hand made things. I went to a laavu where a woman was selling jewellery that was made from reindeer claw! She told that she's the only one who makes it. I suppose that's something unique, Irina tells about her experiences in PoroFeria.
- I also visited some of the laavus and I thought it was really interesting. It's not that often that you get to go in to a laavu where I come from. And also you get some sense of what the Sami tradition is. I thought that was kind of cool. What I didn't like is that it was too cold, sums Erik his feelings from the feria.
The two-day festival contained live music, reindeer dog show, lasso throwing, flamenco shows, sausage frying, flamenco and Sami fashion shows and of course the biggest attracion of them all: the PoroFeria Sprint.
In the sprint 16 of the fastest reindeers in the world competed against each other on a quarter mile track. Reindeers were divided in to eight pairs so it was one-on-one on Rantakatu street, which was closed for the race.
Also Irina and Erik were impressed by the agile reindeer race and thought it was the most interesting thing in the festival.
– It was fantastic! In Murmansk we also have some competitions like this. But they compete with sleds, not with skis like here. I suppose it is rather difficult to manage a reindeer and go by skis. They are so very, very fast, Irina ponders.
Reindeers are indeed quite fast. For comparison, the World Record from men’s 4 x 100 metre relay is from the Beijing’s Olympic Games, ran by the Jamaican team, and it is 37.10 seconds.
This years the PoroFeria Sprint winner, Takaveto, ran the quarter mile snow track in 16.97 seconds. Maybe there's a reason why the Father Christmas uses reindeers instead of human beings in front of his sled.