Five Greenlandic traditions that will surprise you
From enormous glaciers and iceberg-filled fjords to its hot springs, Greenland’s natural appeal has no limits. The island also holds important Inuit cultural history and evidence of human settlement stretching back thousands of years. Here are five Greenlandic traditions that may come as a surprise to you.
1) Eating the seal´s lung while it´s still warm
When a hunter comes back to shore with a fresh kill, he will open the seal up and take out its intestines. But first, he will cut out the lungs bit by bit to share it with those around him and eat it while it’s still warm.
2) Creeping each other out with myths and legends of Inuit culture
Greenlanders love stories, especially the creepy and scary ones. Many people still believe that everything around us has a spirit. The sagas can seem illogical, with astonishing, often highly grotesque turns. Not employing the familiar, European phrase of ”Once upon a time . . . ”, the storyteller in Greenland catches listeners’ attention by saying ”This story is so old that no-one knows from whose throat it first came.”
3) Opening their houses for old and new acquaintances
The kaffemik is an amazing Greenlandic social gathering of friends for coffee, cake and other finger foods. It’s a sort of open house with a relaxed end homely atmosphere lasting several hours. The more – the merrier.
4) Washing their hair with urine
Inuit women often use urine as shampoo. It gives hair extra life and a beautiful shine. The benefits of urine on hair are backed by science. Since urine is an antiseptic, it may help eliminate many scalp problems, including infections, itchy scalp, and dandruff.
5) Seeing dogs as working dogs – not as pets
For centuries, Greenlandic dogs have only been seen as working animals, which remains today. With that, dogs stay outside the houses all year round and adult dogs are not free to roam the area as they may have unpredictable wolf genes.
Photo: Mads Pihl - Visit Greenland
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