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What you need to know about the Sámi National Day

Sámi National Day, also known as the Sámi People's Day, is celebrated on February 6th to commemorate the Sámi culture and heritage. The Sámi people are the indigenous people of the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia's Kola Peninsula. They have a rich culture, language, and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Online Sami lifestyle Reindeer sledding Katelin Sorrisniva

Photo: Katelin - Sorrisniva

The Sámi National Day was first celebrated in 1993 and the day serves as a reminder of the history, struggles, and achievements of the Sámi people. It is a day to celebrate their culture, traditions, and contributions to society. The day also serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the ongoing challenges faced by the Sámi people, such as the loss of traditional land and the endangerment of their language and cultural practices.

The Sámi people have a long and rich history, dating back thousands of years. They are known for their unique traditions and way of life, including reindeer herding, fishing, and hunting. The Sámi people have also played an important role in the history of their respective countries, making significant contributions to their economies and cultures.

Sámi Parliament in Karasjok

In Norway, the Sámi Parliament was established in 1989 as a political representation for the Sámi people. The Parliament is responsible for promoting and protecting the rights of the Sámi people, as well as promoting their language and cultural heritage. The Parliament has the authority to make recommendations on matters related to the Sámi people and their rights, such as land use and resource management. It also provides a platform for the Sámi people to have a voice in the political process and to participate in the decision-making process that affects their lives. The Sámi Parliament is an important institution that helps to ensure that the Sámi people have a say in the future of their culture and their way of life.

The Parliament is located in Karasjok.

Thom reijnders c WL0 SN Sqi Gs unsplash

The Sámi people have their own flag, which features a blue and red design on a white background. The flag is used to represent the Sámi people and their culture both in Norway and abroad.

Photo: Thom Reijnders/Unsplash

The history of the Sámi people

Despite their rich history and culture, the Sámi people have faced numerous challenges over the years. They have faced discrimination and have had their traditional lands and resources taken away. In recent years, the Sámi people have been working to protect their rights and reclaim their land and resources. They have also been working to preserve their language and cultural practices, which are at risk of disappearing due to globalization and the spread of modern Western culture.

In conclusion, Sámi National Day is a celebration of the rich culture and heritage of the Sámi people. It serves as a reminder of their history, struggles, and achievements, and provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the ongoing challenges faced by the Sámi people. The day is a celebration of the unique traditions and way of life of the Sámi people, and is an important reminder of their contribution to society.

Would you like to visit and learn more about the Sámi people?

Visit Norway has a lot of resources on where you can travel in Northern Norway to meet and learn from the Sámi people, take a look here (link), and here is more information about the Sámi traditions (link).

Also make sure to check out the Northern Norway website for more information about the Sámi (link).

Here are some sami facts!

What do they speak?

A total of nine different but closely related Sami languages are spoken in the Sami region. Today, three of these languages are in active use in Northern Norway. Sami people from the south of Northern Norway can talk effortlessly to their nearest Sami neighbors in Sweden, but cannot communicate with Sami people from the far north.

How about music?

The Sámi people have a strong musical tradition, and traditional Sámi music is played on a variety of instruments, including the lute-like instrument known as the "joik."

What about the reindeers?

Around 2,600 Sami people in Norway make their living from herding reindeer, and the majority of the region of Northern Norway is actually used for raising reindeer.

Want to know what to say on the Sámi National Day?
As there are nine different languages, there are different ways to say congratulations, here are three different ways:

  • Vuorbbe biejvijn! (lule sami)
  • Læhkoeh biejjine! (south sami)
  • Lihkku beivviin! (northern sami)
Online The Sámi Parliament is formed as a semicircle Jan Helmer Olsen

The Sámi Parliament works to ensure that the Sámi secure and develop their language, their culture and their social life.

The Sámi Parliament building in Karasjok was completed in the autumn of 2001. It has won the Building Design Award and is a distinctive building, both externally and internally.

Photo: Jan Helmer Olsen

Online The Hide Kongeskinnet 1989 Mika Saijets

The hide (of reindeer) which H.M. King Olav V signed at the opening of the Sami Parliament on 9 October 1989.

Photo: Mika Saijets