Thursday, February 6, 2014

In the honor of the Sàmi people

Traditional costum from Inari and reindeer leather tambourine

On February 6th, Finland celebrates the Northern people, the Sàmi or Saami in Finnish. This date wasn't randomly chosen. It reminds when the first Sàmi concil meeting was held in Trondheim (Norway) in 1917. Different theories suggest that the origin of the Sámi goes back 4,000 years or more. About 163,000 Sàmis are currently living in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia in an area of 388,350km2. In Lapland, it is more frequent to see reindeers than humans! Locals speak about ten different dialects, and do not necessary understand each other. Traditionally, they were living of fishing, hunting, fur trapping and sheep herding. This day is important to remember these people with their different culture, languages, traditions and way of living.

Reindeer farmer

Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding. Currently about 10% of the Sàmi are connected to reindeer herding and 2,800 are actively involved in herding on a full-time basis. Only Sàmi people are allowed to do reindeer herding. Also, it is not allowed to hunt reindeers. Nowadays, there are no more wild reindeers. While looking at the ears of the animals, one's can see that their owner made some recognizable marks.

Traditional wedding costums (Siida museum in Inari)

But modernity has come. They have electricity, mobile phones and cars. Children speak the Sàmi language in the daycare, but are then learning Finnish at elementary school. The first lutherian church was built in 1850 in Utsjoki. Utsjoki is also the only town in Finland with a majority of Sàmi. Many young Sàmis have moved to bigger cities to find work or to study.

In Lapland, pannels are not in Finnish and Swedish but in Finnish and Sàmi language

Here you can listen to some non-traditional Sàmi music

Sofia Jannok is probably my favorite Sàmi singer

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...