In the ice cold, arctic night the masks seems so alive- a skeleton, the dead bird masque, a scary fur costume – they are all dancing on the street in the Northern Norway. First all quiet and then higher, more powerful, and all of a sudden flames! The goal is the fire and it is on your own risk that you are spending time outside this New Year evening.
The dramatic and scary carnival Oabeaigállát in Manndalen started in 1925-1930 and has been going on every New Year's Eve since then. The tradition has unknown sources, some thinks that immigrants from Tornedalen brought it to Norway and other says that anglers in another small village started it for fish luck. Most of the citizens living here, between the dramatic mountains and the deep Fjord, are participating in the happening and the work with the scary customs has been going on during the whole autumn.
In this part of the world, the darkness has been deep for over a month when the New Year comes. Around 6pm, when the carnival starts, the people are coming out randomly from corners and houses, gathering in a common show and walking down the street. They have sticks in their hands, threatening and hitting the crowd that are watching and it is exactly as scary as it sounds! The finish is around the fire, screaming and shouting aloud in the deep dark arctic night until the fireworks are taking over. Happy New Year!
(Photo: Ola Solvang)
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