No other man has made a greater impression on northern Scandinavia than Lars Levi Laestadius (1800–61), the Swedish revivalist preacher who dedicated his life to saving people in three countries from the perils of alcoholism. Born in Jäkkvik in 1800 and educated in Kvikkjokk, the young Laestadius soon developed a close relationship with the indigenous Sámi, many of whom had turned to drink to escape the harsh reality of their daily lives. It was while the priest was working in Karesuando (1826–49) that he met Mary of Åsele, the Sámi woman who inspired him to steer people towards a life of total purity. Following Laestadius’s death in Pajala in 1861, the movement continued under the leadership of Juhani Raattamaa before splitting into two opposing branches: a conservative western group in Sweden and Norway, and a more liberal eastern one in Finland. Today tens of thousands of teetotal Swedes, Finns, Norwegians and Sámi across the Arctic area of Scandinavia still follow Laestadius’s teachings; as well as not drinking, they’re not allowed to have flowers or curtains in their homes, nor are they permitted to wear a tie, listen to the radio or watch TV.

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You’ll soon be able to stay at the ICEHOTEL throughout the year

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19 Apr 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
Trail-running in the stunning Swedish countryside

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09 Nov 2015 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…

09 Oct 2015 • Steve Vickers insert_drive_file Article
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