Sami National Day

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Day of the Sámi People
Sami flag.svg
Sámi flag
Also called 'Sámi National Day', 'Sixth of February'
Observed by Sámi
Type Ethnic
Significance Celebrating the first international Sámi conference in Trondheim, Norway, February 6, 1917.
Celebrations Wearing national garment, attending concerts and culture events, eating national food, displaying flags
Date February 6
Next time 6 February 2015 (2015-02-06)
Frequency annual
Related to Sápmi

The Sami National Day (Northern Sami: Sámi álbmotbeaivi, Inari Sami: Säämi aalmugpeivi and Skolt Sami: Saa´mi meersažpei´vv) falls on February 6 as this date was when the first Sámi congress was held in 1917 in Trondheim, Norway.[1] This congress was the first time that Norwegian and Swedish Sámi came together across their national borders to work together to find solutions for common problems.

In 1992,[1] at the 15th Sámi Conference in Helsinki, a resolution was passed that Sámi National Day should be celebrated on February 6 to commemorate the 1st Sámi congress in 1917. Sami National Day is for all Sámi, regardless of where they live and on that day the Sámi flag should be flown and the Sami national anthem is sung in the local Sámi language. The first time Sami National Day was celebrated was in 1993,[1] when the International Year of Indigenous People was proclaimed open in Jokkmokk, Sweden by the United Nations.

Since then, celebrating the day has become increasingly popular. In Norway it is compulsory for municipal administrative buildings to fly the Norwegian flag, and optionally also the Sami flag, on February 6. Particularly notable is the celebration in Norway's capital Oslo, where the bells in the highest tower of Oslo City Hall play the Sami national anthem as the flags go up.[2] Some larger places have taken to arranging festivities also in the week around the Sami National Day.

Through pure synchronicity, this date also happened to be when representatives of the Sámi of the Kola Peninsula used to gather annually, meeting with Russian bureaucrats to debate and decide on issues of relevance to them. This organ, called the Koladak Sobbar, has been dubbed the 'first Sámi Parliament' by the researcher Johan Albert Kalstad. This did not influence the choice of the date as the Sámi People's Day, since the people present did not know about it - the Koladak Sobbar only existed during the late 19th century, and was only 'rediscovered' by Kalstad in the current Millennium.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Sami People's Day celebrated Friday". The Norway Post. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2009. 
  2. ^ Eilif Aslaksen:Dette skjer på nasjonaldagen (in Norwegian) NRK, February 4, 2009
  3. ^ Kalstad, Yokhan Al’bert: Dorogoy Nadezhd. Politika Rossiyskogo gosudarstva i polozhenie saamskogo naroda v Rossii (1864–2003): 20-28 (Murmanskoye Knizhnoye Izdatel’stvo 2009).