The Sami National Day

  • Sami flagga

    The Sami Flag Photo: Johannes Jansson

  • staffan_widstrand-sami_lapland-1306

    Sami Photo: Staffan Widstrand/imagebank.sweden.se

On February 6 we celebrate the Sami National Day. This indigenous people live up in the Nordic countries in a region called “Sápmi” in their own language. The area stretches over four national borders: Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. The Sami is considered an indigenous people in Sweden since the 1977 and they have their own parliament working on promoting the Sami culture and language.

February 6 was chosen as the date of their National Day in honour of the first international Sami meeting in 1917. It was the first time the Sami could get together from all the four different countries to discuss a common political agenda. The meeting attracted a large number of participants, many of them women.

Even if the Sami people are spread out in different countries, the collaboration between them goes beyond the national borders. The flag, as well as the national anthem, Sámi soga làvlla, are the same for all Sami people. The importance of the design of the flag becomes clear when understanding the symbolic meaning of the colours and shapes. The green symbolizes the nature, which might seem quite natural for this people whose survival depended for so long on the changes of season. On a more universal level, the blue signifies water as it is the base for all life. The red depicts human cordiality and love, while the yellow is a symbol for the sun, our center point in the solar system. The circle symbolizes a spirituality joining together the four essential elements for the existence of life.

The Sami culture embraces its traditions, but this does not stop artists from renewing the genre by mixing traditional Sami heritage with the products of today’s modernized society. One of the best known ambassadors for the Sami music is Sofia Jannok, who mixes the traditional singing called “jojk” with jazz and pop. In Sweden her songs in the Sami language have had a big success. To listen to her work, click here.   

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