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Why Sweden marks Sami National Day today

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Why Sweden marks Sami National Day today
A Sami reindeer herder. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix / TT
07:55 CET+01:00
On February 6th, Sami National Day is celebrated across Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia.

The day is celebrated throughout Sápmi, the Sami name for the region inhabited by the Sami people, to mark the anniversary of the first Sami congress held by indigenous Scandinavians.

This year marks 101 years since the first such congress took place in Trondheim, Norway, attended by over 100 people from Norway and Sweden.

The following year, 1918, a similar congress was held, this time in Sweden, and since 1993 a celebration has been held on February 6th, called Sámi álbmotbeaivi in the Sami language, literally 'day of the Sami people'.

Key parts of the celebration include the Sami flag – which depicts a circle symbolizing the sun and the moon in the colours of red, blue, green and yellow inspired by traditional Sami dress – and the Sami national anthem, a song written in the early 20th century by the man who became the first Sami person to be elected to Norwegian parliament.

Today, there are around 90,000 Sami people throughout the world, of whom between 20,000 and 35,000 live in Sweden, where Sami people have lived since the last Ice Age. They received official recognition from the UN as an indigenous people in 1977, but it wasn't until 2011 that Sweden's constitution recognized Sami people as an indigenous people.

IN PICTURES: Amazing images of reindeer herding in northern Sweden

 

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