Thursday, 22 July 2010

Greenlandic National Day, Part 1

We didn't have particularly concrete plans for most of our time in Greenland; we booked arrivals and departures with very little thought of what we'd actually do in between. However, the one aspect of the timing which we did plan carefully was to make sure we were in Nuuk (Greenland's capital) for the National Day celebrations on June 21.

We found a schedule in the tourist office: the day was kicking off with a procession through the streets at 7.30am. The starting point was an hour's walk from where we were staying. Have I mentioned lately that I'm not a morning person...? I'm really not. But I'm even less of a person-who-misses-the- National-Day-procession-just-because-she's-sleepy, so I got up absurdly early and off we went into the grey Greenlandic morning.

National Day parade

In keeping with the tiny size of the city, it was a tiny procession. When we set off from the town hall there was hardly anyone there who wasn't carrying a flag or playing in the marching band, and though we picked up a few more en route, it was a small enough affair for us to feel we were really part of the action.

National Day parade

Don't you just love the colourful beaded designs of the women's costumes?

National Day paradeNational Day parade

We processed to the Colonial Harbour (the heart of the old town) where we were due to have a canon salute, speeches, and singing. Each canon blast made me jump out of my skin even though I was supposed to be expecting it - goodness, they're loud.

National Day parade

As we'd arrived, sheets of paper were given out with the lyrics to the National Anthem (in Greenlandic, of course). The choir's conductor was an enthusiastic and energetic man, and when he encouraged the audience to join in with the singing, we felt we really ought to give it a go. Thankfully, Greenlandic is written pretty much as it's pronounced - but I have no idea what we were singing about.

National Day - choir

Then, while the Greenlanders filled the cathedral for a two-hour service (everything takes a while, since it has to be in Greenlandic and Danish), we went back to bed for a little nap.

National Day cake


Katie said...

Those costumes are amazing! Such delicate beadwork. Regardless of "fashion" they have obviously put much effort into them. I think that's awesome!

I am living vicariously through your travels. Lol. I haven't been out of my homestate in 7 years and an upcoming trip to Dallas, TX is a HUGE thrill for me because of that. Going out of the States for travel - WOW! Can't imagine. I pray to one day...but lots would have to change first. So glad you are able to now!

Debbie said...

Aee those seed beads on those clothes? Incredible. I love the colors.

Anonymous said...

That is so cool that you were able to be there for that. I'd be napping instead of the two hour service too.

lakeviewer said...

Beautiful costumes! We'd never see this anywhere.

Mademoiselle Poirot said...

The costumes look beautiful and (obviously) authentic. I love the fact that it's so small, surely that must feel a little like "an honour" to be there and be able to take part...? Great post and pictures. Love from London x

ScoMan said...

Sounds like everyone there really gets involved and gets behind it. That's awesome.

You don't see that sort of support for a national day in other countries. Sure, more people might turn up elsewhere in the world, but most of them just sit and watch. And there's still a high percentage that don't turn up.

Kristin said...

What gorgeous photos. So many beautiful colors!

Crystal Escobar said...

oh that is so cool, what an amazing experience that would be.

Louiz said...

Sounds like an amazing experience, and I love the costumes.

JadeLD said...

Your posts are really making me want to visit Greenland! The colours on the outfits are amazing. This was such an amazing trip for you - looking forward to reading your next installment.

I'm doing a giveaway this week if you are interested, for CSN stores.

Have a lovely day,

Anonymous said...

What an experience! Those costumes are so pretty. Great post!

Dave King said...

Wonderful. I have long wanted to visit Greenland. You only strengthen that desire.

Deirdre said...

That's so great.

alessandra said...

Never been there, so thank you for sharing.
How was the cake?

Deirdre said...

Hi Rachel!!

In regards to your question on my blog... yes, I've spoken to my husband about the matter extensively and he feels uneasy as well.

There is a possibility that this neighbor will be moving so we're doing our best with what we're dealt, taking one day at a time, and hoping for the best outcome possible.

I think I'll be fine so long as I can continue to avoid this man as much as possible.


Slamdunk said...

Looks and sounds like a fun event.

I had to look up Greenlandic--I had never heard of that language (I can impress others with the fact now though).

Funky Mama Bird said...

Those costumes are incredible!

Happy SITS Saturday sharefest!

Jeanne said...

Mmmm, the cake looks yummy.

And the costumes are beautiful.

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