Lapland Baptism

One of the most offensive examples of invented traditions is a product known as ‘Lapland baptism’, a ceremony invented purely for entertainment of tourists. It is marketed under various names, for example, Lapp baptism ceremony, Lappish baptism, etc. This ‘tradition’, invented and commercialised by outsiders and disapproved by Sámi, was ‘born’ at the end of 1970s. The reason provided when inquired for this disinformative ‘ceremony’ being still on the menu of the tourism industry is that there is demand for it. Demand, that has been and is being created by tourism industry through continuing to offer it. This invention has no factual foundation in actual Sámi culture. Furthermore, it presents the Sámi people in a highly disadvantageous light as dirty and primitive characters. These service providers are often wearing their role costumes impersonating ‘shamans’ or ‘Sámi’ entertaining tourists at the cost of indigenous people. In addition to offending Sámi, ‘Lapland baptism’ misleads and deceives customers by using Sámi cultural heritage and Sámi symbols or elements referring to Sámi culture, and, thus, making it seem Sámi. In tourism exploiting Sámi culture, ‘Lapland baptism’ also belongs to cultural identity theft and cultural appropriation categories. This invented ‘tradition’ increases further the misleading, exoticised and primitivised information regarding Sámi via tourism industry. Hence, this practise is culturally highly unsustainable.