The Nenets are reindeer herders, migrating across the Yamal peninsula, thriving for more than a millennium with temperatures from minus 50°C in winter to 35°C in summer. Their annual migration of over a 1000 km includes a 48 km crossing of the frozen waters of the Ob River.
The discovery of oil and gas reserves in the 1970s and the expanding infrastructure on the peninsula, has challenged their indigenous lifestyle.
When talking amongst themselves, Nenets speak a Finno-Ugric language. However, every Nenet under 50 speaks fluent Russian, as from the late Stalin period onwards, all children have been enrolled in Soviet boarding schools. At first, families resisted this policy, but today, boarding schools have become part of the typical Nenets life cycle and parents are supportive of the opportunities that this education provides.
Ved-ava is a water deity (sometimes also associated with fertility), common to several Baltic and Finno-Ugric peoples. She is generally depicted as a water creature resembling a mermaid.
Fishermen sacrificed the first of their catch to this goddess and observed numerous taboos related to her while fishing. Seeing Ved-ava boded ill, most often death by drowning. She has been regarded as the spirit of a drowned person or simply as a personification of the water itself.
Since I made this analysis about Kristoff’s past, I have done some research that could provide some further details about his backstory, particularly how Sven came into his life and why he grows up to be so cynical and bitter.
First of all, the script itself says that Kristoff is a Sami boy, and that he and the ice harvesters are wearing traditional Sami clothing. These Sami (sometimes spelled “Sámi”) people, traditionally known as Lapps in English, are the indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi. This area, also known as Lapland in English, is located in Northern Europe and stretches over the far northern parts of Scandinavia, including Norway, which is the country setting of Arendelle. Other moments that provide clues to Kristoff’s Sami heritage include the following examples:
Part of Kristoff’s clothing consists of a gákti, which is worn over his shirt and appears similar to a tunic. Being a male, Kristoff wears a gákti with a shorter “skirt” than that of a woman’s, and around it, he wears a woven belt (although some might call it a sash). The rounded appearance of Kristoff’s hat is similar to that a Four Winds hat, but it lacks the four-cornered star on the top and just has a ball of fur. His boots have curled/pointed toes like the boots worn by the Sami, and he wears large mittenslike them, too
When Kristoff cuts Sven from his reins and Anna cuts her and Kristoff free of the rope from the cliff, they use what is presumably a Sami knife. This knife has a long and wide blade with a length that ranges between 200 and 450 mm, and a handle usually made from birch.
The best known means of livelihood in Sami culture is reindeer herding, which offers a large potential explanation on how Kristoff acquired Sven.
So since Kristoff is a Sami person, knowledge of their culture could offer opinion on his backstory. For example, I think it’s possible that he used to live in a Sami village with his parents not so far from Arendelle. I’m willing to believe that his father was an ice harvester before him, and maybe worked with other ice harvesters in collecting ice from frozen lakes in the mountains, then selling it down in Arendelle. The fact that young Kristoff wears gear that fits him perfectly, not to mention he has tools all the perfect size for him, makes me believe that if his father was an ice harvester, he was going to show Kristoff how to become one, so maybe the clothes and tools were a gift. Because Kristoff does grow up to be a good man, it is suggested that his parents raised him with love and care for the first eight years of his life.
But after Kristoff lost his parents, that’s when everything began to change for him.
After Kristoff was orphaned, he realized he needed to do something to take care of himself. This is why he starts harvesting ice at a young age; he knows he can sell ice he collects and he needs the money in order to survive. It is possible that Kristoff was orphaned fairly recently, since a boy his age could not survive too long without being cared for by adults. Additionally, if Kristoff came from a Sami tribe prior to living in the mountains, and given how young Sven is, they probably found each other around the same time that Kristoff lost his parents.
People Are No Good
Now I said it before and I’ll say it again: Kristoff’s negative opinion about people could have started as early as what we see in the beginning of the movie. When Kristoff decides try harvesting for the first time, he hopes that someone will take him in and show him their ways. But unfortunately, he ends up having to learn it on his own. None of the men acknowledge or help him in anyway; they just mind their own business and ignore Kristoff entirely.
After this, while it wasn’t shown onscreen, Kristoff possibly faced neglect from the ice harvesters in different ways over the years. They would be rude to him and tell him to go away if he went to them for guidance, they would tease him for being too small to be a real harvester like them, and/or they would ignore him with the hopes that he would eventually go away entirely (which he didn’t, of course) if they didn’t give him guidance. Because he was experiencing this kind of treatment as a child, with him being so young and inexperienced, it probably didn’t take too long for him to give up on people all together. Part of his gruff and tough personality might have even come from them, because he was trying to be a lot like them, so he just adopted the same kind of attitude.
So if Kristoff grew up being ignored or teased by the people around him, especially those who did the same work as him, then it’s no wonder he eventually came to distrust other people. It’s hard to say if he really interacted with many other people for them to harm him in any way. But by the time he became an adult, Kristoff did not take trust in people very lightly. Maybe he initially didn’t like being alone as a child, but since he was shut out by people for many years, he grew to enjoy it because he learned how to survive it and cope with it. Since people did not ever appear to really need Kristoff, he felt that he didn’t need anyone in his life, either. He gave up on people after they gave up on him first, and he refused to take any more chances on people because he fears being ruined or emotionally hurt. When he meets new people, Kristoff acts cold and hostile instead of friendly because he believes that showing his true kind self will make him look weak. He thinks that people will walk all over him or take advantage of him, so he wants to protect himself from getting hurt.
Reindeer (and Anna) Are Better
But through any and all past bad experiences, when people ignored him, were unkind to him, or gave up on him, Sven was the only one who never did. Even in the prologue, while none of the men help Kristoff, Sven never once leaves his side. Sven licks Kristoff’s face when Kristoff gets splashed, and helps him regain his balance after Kristoff manages to snag the ice block, then nearly falls over.
A major difference between him and Anna having little human contact growing up was that, completely unlike Anna, Kristoff was never truly alone. Sven has literally been by his side for years and stuck by him through thick and thin. Anna did not have a companion like that for herself, not even from the adults in her castle. And since there are so many trolls that make up his family, I think it’s safe to say that Kristoff was never alone in the way that Anna was as they grew up.
Sven proved his loyalty and love for Kristoff many times, hence why he created “Reindeers Are Better than People.” Even though he would act grumpy and cranky towards other people, the fact that Kristoff was shown love by Sven and the trolls and he loved them in return, this proved that he is just as capable of loving and caring for a human being.
And because of Anna, Kristoff begins to let down his mental walls of hostility and opens up to her, probably far more than he ever has to a human, let alone a human girl. Her optimism is just what he needs to balance his realistic nature, and while he may still believe that not all people are good, Kristoff possibly believes that Anna is the best person he has ever known.
My bad, I had to explain it before for my foreign followers! (sadly, Wikipedia entry about
is in stub and full of errors)
Udmurt people are
ethnic group in Russia. We live mostly in
Udmurt Republic (me, for example, live in Izhevsk, main city of Udmurtia), but small groups live in the neighboring areas: Kirov Oblast and Perm Krai of Russia, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and Mari El.
The Udmurt people are known for their red hair (probably the most red haired ethnisity in the world). The Udmurt people have also been known as Votyaks, Chud Otyatskaya,
Otyaks. We have a
number of our own traditions including dress. Udmurt dresses are very complex and varative.
The religion of the Udmurts is traditionally pagan. It is based
around folklore and mythology similar to that of the Finno-Ugric people.
Remnants of these religious practices are still strongly present but
the people have been significantly influenced by Russian Orthodoxy.
Our lands have been ruled by many nations through history
including the Golden Horde, but has been part of Russia since 1489. The
Udmurts along with other local tribes staged numerous uprising against
the Russian empire for the next couple of centuries.
The Udmurt people speak the Udmurt language, although Russian is
certainly the most predominate language in the republic. Both languages
are official languages of the Udmurt Republic. Russian is mostly used
in cities and schools however Udmurt is in common use within Udmurt
rural communities. The language is of Finno-Ugric origin so fits into the
same language groups as Finish and Hungarian. However the Udmurt has
borrowed quite a number of loan words from the neighbouring languages of
Russian and Tartar.
More info about Udmurt history could be found here:
by John McCannon Goddess of the earth worshipped by the ancient Slavs; one of the most primeval deities in the pagan Slavic pantheon. Mokos is most likely a later and more strongly personified variant of the Slavs’ elder earth goddess, “Damp Mother Earth,” or Mati syra zemlya. According to Roman Jakobson and Marija Gimbutas, the worship of such a primal earth goddess was widespread among the Slavs and their neighbors; this is attested to by the fact that the earth deities of a number of Baltic, Phrygian, and Finno-Ugric peoples exhibit similar characteristics and seem to derive from the Indo-Iranian Ardvi Sura Anahita (“Humid Mother of the Earth”). Just prior to the conversion of the Eastern Slavs to Christianity, Mokos was worshipped officially in Kievan Rus, along with Perun and other deities mentioned in the Primary Chronicle. As the only female god of note to be worshipped by the Slavs, Mokos assumed a broad range of divine roles. She was first and foremost a symbol of the earth’s fertility. During the early spring, it was taboo to spit on or strike the ground, since Mokos was said to be pregnant then. Holidays were dedicated to her in the autumn, after the harvest. The belief that Mokos invested the earth with divinity was reflected in peasant practices that, in some parts of Russia, Ukraine, and Belorussia, persisted into the 19th century: the swallowing of a lump of soil to consecrate wedding vows, the placing of earth upon one’s head to seal oaths, the confession of one’s sins to a hole in the ground instead of a priest. Over time, Mokos became a patron of women, especially those bearing children or giving birth. She oversaw women’s work, such as spinning and weaving. By some groups, such as the Czechs, her name was invoked in times of drought. She was also thought to protect flocks of sheep. The strength of her cult remained substantial, even after the Christianization of the Slavs; as late as the 17th century, Orthodox priests attempted to uncover Mokos-worshippers among the peasantry, asking women whether or not they had “gone to Mokos.” In Russia, Mokos was partially absorbed into Orthodox worship, in the guise of St. Paraskeva-Piatnitsa (“Paraskeva-Friday”), whose name day fell in late October, around the time of Mokos’s former harvest celebration.
Although I previously did an analysis where I listed many clues that suggest that the country setting of Arendelle is located in Norway, since I did that, I have learned some new facts that help to support it further, including the actual town that inspired Arendelle by its name. ;)
The name ‘Arendelle’ is based on the Norwegian town of Arendal, located in the county of Aust-Agder, to the southwest of the Norwegian capital, Oslo. In Norwegian, 'Aren’ is possibly derived from 'ørn’, which means “eagle”, and 'delle’ is derived from 'dal’, which means “valley.”
The script says that Kristoff is a Sami boy, and that he and the ice harvesters wear traditional Sami clothing. These Sami (sometimes spelled “Sámi”) people, traditionally known as Lapps in English, are the indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi. This area is located in Northern Europe and stretches over the far northern parts of Scandinavia, including Norway. A common practice of Sami culture is reindeer herding, which would explain how Sven became Kristoff’s pet.
Throughout Frozen, there is a decoration inscribed in many things, from clothing to architecture to furnishings. This is known as rosemaling (which is Norwegian for “decorative painting”), a decorative folk art that originated in the rural valleys of Norway. It uses stylized flower ornamentation, scrollwork, lining and geometric elements, often in flowing patterns.
Christianity is the largest religion in Norway as well as Denmark. This seems to come into play because the four human characters each have a name translated from or related to the said religion (see this analysis).
Lights in the sky that are clearly the Northern Lights are prominently shown at least twice in the film. Northern Norway is right in the middle of the Northern Lights zone, and the coasts of the Norwegian counties of Troms and Finnmark lay where occurrence is greatest.
There is a heated debate in Norway about how to stack firewood properly, bark up or bark down. This is briefly referenced during the time when Arendelle is covered in snow: two townsmen are seen arguing about how to stack firewood.