Local traditions and culture in Greenland

  • Inuit lady asking for a cigarette, Kulusuk
    Inuit lady asking for a cigarette,...
    by jumpingnorman
  • Myself (middle/cap) with Inuits by road, Kulusuk
    Myself (middle/cap) with Inuits by road,...
    by jumpingnorman
  • Inuit men watching as tourists pass by, Kulusuk
    Inuit men watching as tourists pass by,...
    by jumpingnorman

Most Viewed Local Customs in Greenland

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    Don’t get scared

    by TheView Written Mar 19, 2012

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    Greenland is still very much a hunting society and weapons are readily available in shops and locals don’t need permits of any kind to purges weapons, so if you see guns in the streets and no one of the locals react then there is no reason to be alarmed.

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    Great pastels

    by Saagar Written Sep 20, 2005

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    The Greenlanders may also have tired of a grey sky. The result is that the color schemes of Greenland's towns and settlements are incredible. This colorfulness contrasts vividly with the bleak landscapes, bad west coast (at least) weather and winter depressions. You can have a photo safari checking out the colorful houses!

    Kindergarden fence. Ilulissat Purple transportation office Green-land
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    Relaxed time concept

    by Saagar Written Sep 20, 2005

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    Greenlandic culture has a relaxed time concept. Perhaps not exactly a manjana attitude, but definitiely not a time concept governed by the watch. Be aware of this and adjust accordingly, and you can take delays and unexpected twists of things much better and more comfortably.

    The time concept goes well with natural conditions
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    Brædtet - the local fish and meat market

    by Saagar Written Sep 20, 2005

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    "Brædtet" is the common market place for hunters and fishermen where they sell their goodies straight to consumers. Every community of some size will have such a market place. In the more fancy places, like Ilulissat, it will be actually be an indoor market.
    Brædtet is useful for visitors in terms of seeing the results of local hunting and fishing as a touristy thing, and perhaps more relevant, this is where you can buy meat and fish for dinner and cook it up yourself on your camp stove or self-catering accommodation.

    A typical selection at Brædtet will include geese, ducks, various sea birds, arctic char (fish), wolf fish, redfish, cod, Greenland Halibut, some herring-like small fish and perhaps some other deep water fish. On the meat side, depending where you are visiting, you will find the four-leggeds: reindeer, musk oxen, lamb, even the odd ox in the south. On the flipper side of things there will be various types of seal meat, minke whale, occasionally fin whale and narwhale and others. The latter category sometimes include some not-to-be-caught-whales and other out-of-season catches, so the natural resources inspection teams from Greenlandic authorities keep a watch on what's up at Brædtet.

    This, and the campaigning by Greenpeace means that you should definitiely lay low while at Brædtet - camera-touting tourists are NOT welcome and the locals will throw you out. Do NOT get into an argument. This is a local institution and for the most part about survival at the margins, and blood red meat is a part of that survival. Respect Greenlandic lifestyle!

    Halibut soon to be at Br��dtet
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    The people living in Qanaaq...

    by inuit Written Aug 25, 2002

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    The people living in Qanaaq are call them selves Inghuit which means 'great human beings'. They speak dialect of Greenlandic which has its roots in Inuktitut, the language spoken by Inuit from Arctic Canada.

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    The People

    by Bjorgvin Written Aug 24, 2002

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    People: 87% Greenlander, 13% Danish and others (Icelanders, Canadians, Americans). Language: Eskimo dialects, Danish, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect).

    Icelanders, followers of Eric the Red, colonized Greenland and lived there for a couple of centuries. There were scant reports of other inhabitants on the southeast and southwest coast when the Vikings settled down. The colonists were in relatively close contact to Iceland and Norway depending on imported goods, but also offering valuable things, like walruses teeth, hides, furs, whale bone, even polar bears etc. Norway annexed the colony in 1261, about the same time as Iceland, but it could never be carried out in full. In the 14th century Greenland became lost to the outside world, partly because Norway was crippled by the Black Death and partly because of a change in the climate to the worse. When contact was made again the colonists had mysteriously gone, but instead Inuit had settled in the old farmsteads. In 1605 Denmark sent an expedition to claim the country in the king’s name but although Danish sovereignty was then established Norway made an ambitious claim in 1924 based on the Icelandic colonies they had annexed in the 13th century. Even some Icelanders considered making claims on the same basis. However, in 1953 the international court ratified Denmark’s sovereignty over Greenland. In 1979 the Danish parliament granted Greenland home rule, and later on the right to full independence.

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    The voyage of the Viking ship "Íslendingur"

    by Bjorgvin Written Aug 24, 2002

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    The voyage of the Viking ship Íslendingur (The Icelander), an exact replica of a Viking skip from Gokstad, Norway: On June 17th 2000 (Iceland's Independence Day) a crew of 9 Icelanders set sail from Reykjavík harbour on a 2600-mile ocean voyage to end in New York October 19th to commemorate the voyages of Leif Ericsson and others 1000 years ago. On the way they docked in harbours in Greenland, Newfoundland (Viking-age settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Boston and New York.

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    The Saga of Eric the Red and Greenlanders´ Saga

    by Bjorgvin Written Aug 24, 2002

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    The Saga of Eric the Red and Greenlanders´ Saga (The Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1980.)
    tell the story of the people of Greenland from the day Eric was exiled from Norway until Norse settlers failed to colonize North America. A Greenlander named Bjarni Herjolfsson was driven off course on his way from Norway back home, and he saw land he could not identify. Later Leif son of Eric had the same experience. An injury prevented Eric himself from accompanying his son Leif on the voyage that eventually took him to Vinland (North America) in about 1001. Another son, Thorvald, also visited Vinland and was killed there by natives. Various attempts were made to colonize Vinland, generally regarded to have been Newfoundland. The Icelander Thorfinn Karlsefni and his wife Gudrid, ex-daughter-in-law of Eric the Red, made the most serious attempt.

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  • Sledge Dogs

    by astroboy72 Written May 23, 2008

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    The dogs in Greenland are not considered as pets as we do in our own country. No touching of the dogs unless allowed by the drivers.

    Sledge dogs
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    Arriving Arsuk

    by Mr.Mora Written Feb 21, 2007

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    When the coast line is arriving Arsuk there is no harbour only but a small jetty. It seems to be something of an event. All the inhabitants are there to welcome you.

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  • ClaesDenmark's Profile Photo

    The Vikings from Denmark /...

    by ClaesDenmark Updated Aug 24, 2002

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    The Vikings from Denmark / Scandinavia were the first ones from Europe to find Greenland. You can still find ruins from the Viking age.

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