Inukituit Christmas in the North Pole!

Trip Start Aug 01, 2010
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Trip End Feb 16, 2012


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Flag of Canada  , Nunavut,
Sunday, December 26, 2010

On Christmas Eve someone said to me that this is the best time to visit Gjoa Haven because there are so many activites going on everyday over the holidays. There has been community gatherings, and visits and festive meals together every night.

We had about fifteen guests over for a Christmas Eve celebration.  Since this is a dry community there was no alcohol mixed into the celebration.  At eleven pm we all went to church.  There is only one church in the hamlet and every seat was taken, there was barely standing room left!   The service was in Inuktitut which was interesting to listen to but I didn't understand a single word!  Some of the tunes were slower versions of familiar carols and the lyrics were written in sylabics on an overhead projector but the best I could contribute to the music was with humming. At the end of the service everyone shook hands with each other and said "Merry Christmas" and then candy and chocolates were thrown into the air and everyone had fun scrambling to collect the treats! It was refreshing to get back out into the arctic air and walk home under a nearly full moon.

Christmas morning was a very northern expeience too this year. Our gifts were a locally caught arctic char, a hind of caribou meat, and a dog sled ride!  We also were gifted with learning a really fun game that the elders taught us. To play, everyone brings a little trinket and sits around in a circle with dice. A 'lucky' number is decided upon and you roll the dice, if you get the number you can take one of the gifts from the centre pile or steal on from someone else.  We set a timer and played for ten minutes.  The game turned intense right away and by the end everyone was grabbing at gifts, throwing dice, and diving across the room! It was tons of fun and I won a lot in the end! Then we turned to the Train Game with dominos and played late into the night.

Boxing Day morning came and we were expecting a blizzard.  We filled all sorts of jugs full of water just in case the blizzard lasted more than a day or so and the truck with potable water couldn't get around.  The definition of a blizzard is 60km/h wind, temps below -12*C, and a sustained period of more than three hours of zero visibilty.  Up until this point we have accumulated a lot of snow but no blizzard yet. I am looking forward to seeing the raging force of Mother Nature at her coldest while we're here.  Up to this point however, I have seen nothing so far but warm holiday hospitality.
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