Reindeer, Sweden, 1955.
Reindeer, Sweden, 1955.Carl Mydans—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Reindeer, Sweden, 1955.
Sami and their reindeer, Sweden, 1955.
Reindeer, Sweden, 1955.
A Sami man leading his reindeer to market, Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
The 350th annual Sami Jokkmokk Market in Sweden, 1955.
A Lutheran church, Sweden, 1955.
A Lutheran church, Sweden, 1955.
Reindeer, Sweden, 1955.
Carl Mydans—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Reindeer Go to Market Above the Arctic Circle, Sweden, 1955

Dec 18, 2013

In 1955, LIFE photographer Carl Mydans traveled to a spot in Sweden just across the Arctic Circle, roughly 700 miles north of Stockholm, where he chronicled the modern-day version of a tradition that was, by then, more than three centuries old: namely, the annual winter market in the town of Jokkmokk, where the Sami people (formerly referred to as Lapps) sold mainly reindeer-related goods and celebrated Sami culture.

For reasons lost to time, none of Mydans' photos ever ran in LIFE magazine -- but here, six decades later, as winter holidays approach and as the Northern Hemisphere's days grow shorter, the nights longer and the air ever colder, LIFE.com features a number of the master photographer's pictures from that long-ago assignment.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

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