February 6 – The Sami National Day

Sami National Day - NRK‘Lihkku beivviin’ is Sami and means happy birthday, and today the Sami people celebrates their National Day.

On February 6th1917, the first Sami congress was held, and for the first time in history the Northern and Southern Sami were gathered as one. Norway is the country with the largest Sami population, estimated at around 60 000. Sweden has about 15 000 Sami inhabitants, Finland 9500 and Russia 2000. There are no official figures – and the estimates have been the same for many years.

In 1992, the National Day was approved by the Sami Conference. In 1993, they celebrated their first National Day – the same year UN officially opened ‘Year of the World’s International Indigenous People’ in Karasjok.

– More and more people choose to show their Sami identity. They are proud of their cultural heritage and express this through language and the use of traditional clothing. We have a reason to be proud – we want to teach the Sami cultural heritage to our children. We want them to experience it as something meaningful, and we provide knowledge about their roots, president of the Sami Parliament Egil Olli tells NRK.

Sami NAtional Day - Celebration. NRKToday, Oslo municipality invites all Sami people to have breakfast in the banquet room at City Hall. Later, the arrangements will continue at the Cizáš (sparrow) kindergarten – the only Sami institution in Oslo.

The National Day is celebrated throughout the Sami area – called Sápmi. In Norway, a key part of the celebration is activities for children – not unlike the Norwegian Constitution Day.

During the weeks before February 6th, it is common to have Sami themed projects in elementary schools and kindergartens. The results are presented to the kids’ parents on the National Day. Many people wear traditional Sami clothing, aka Kofte, and various cultural events are a big part of the celebration.

The traditional Sami food is also a very important part of the celebration. It is mainly based on reindeer meat and fish.

ThorNews wishes all Sami people HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

The Sami National Anthem:


Text by: Ester Jepsen, ThorNews

Source: NRK, Wikipedia

Photos: NRK

Categories: Culture, Sami

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