Object of the month: Harness for reindeer

Monthly Artifacts

These wooden pieces are parts of the harness for reindeer. They were donated to the museum in the 1980s as part of a collection of Sami handicrafts. The main use of this kind of harness was when the Sami boy went to a Sami girl to propose.

In old tradition, the Sami boy would go on a reindeer raid to the girl’s family. He would ride the reindeer one turn around the lavvo, and then send a messenger inside to ask the girl to come out. If the girl came out and tied the reindeer to a tree, she had accepted the proposal. The future family-in-law would enter the lavvo and ask for permission to make coffee. After that, the boy and the girl would switch reindeer and ride off to the priest to announce their coming marriage. 

Ann-Silje Ingebrigtsen, collection staff