“On the day we are supposed to leave, in the morning, the men go and catch the draft reindeer from the herd with their lassos and bring them to the tent. If the temperature is above zero and the snow has turned soft, we will wait for the late evening when the air will be cooler and the snow so hard that it will carry us. Already earlier, we have packed the sledges and sleds with all the food and things we will need in the fell country. Last, we take our tent to pieces: we wrap the tent cloth and pack it in a sledge and tie the tent poles to the last sledge. Before leaving, we still have a cup of coffee. And, thus, the file of reindeer and sledges begins its trip north, to the fell country which is the real home of the reindeer-herding Sámi.”
The reindeer calves are born in May, the first ones around May Day. In North Sámi, May is miessemánnu, or “calf month”, and the birth of the calves marks the beginning of a new reindeer herding year. In the flush of spring in nature, snow melts and spring floods and the great flocks of migratory birds arrive.