Sámi National Day on February 6 is a cultural celebration for the Sámi people. On this day in 1917, the first Sámi congress took place in Trondheim, Norway. The national holiday is also called ‘Samenes Nasjonaldag.’ The Sámi people, or ‘Urbefolkning’ in Norwegian, are indigenous people who live mainly in Norway, but also in Finland, Russia, and Sweden.
History of Sami National Day
On February 6, 1917, Northern and Southern Sámi people came together for the first time for a joint meeting in Trondheim, Norway. Historically crucial, the common concerns of the community were shared and addressed as they worked together to find solutions. The latest statistics estimate that 80,000 Sami people are spread across the four countries — 50,000 in Norway, 20,000 in Sweden, 8,000 in Finland, and 2,000 in Russia.
Sami National Day was created during the proceedings of the 15th Sami conference in Helsinki in 1992. As a combined minority of four countries, Sami people were looked down upon at one point in history. Many laws were forced upon them in an attempt to mold them with the general population. This led to a need for establishing a dedicated day to appreciate them. The first Sámi National Day was observed on February 6, 1993. At the same time, the United Nations proclaimed the opening of the International Year of Indigenous People in Sweden.
Ever since, this holiday has been celebrated grandly by the Sami people residing in Norway. The Sami flag is seen everywhere, and the Sami language is used to chant, sing songs, and the national anthem.
Sami National Day timeline
The Sami people’s congress meets for the first time.
An important symbol representing the Sami people, the Sami flag is approved at the 13th Nordic Sami Conference.
The Sami National Day is adopted in Norway.
The Sami National Day is celebrated for the first time.
Sami National Day FAQs
How do people celebrate Sami National Day?
Sami National Day is widely celebrated all over Norway and in other countries where Sami people live. The cultural significance of the day is discussed and shared especially in schools. The Sami flag is hoisted, and the national anthem is sung. Traditional food is cooked and the signature clothing of the Sami people is worn today.
How do you say Happy Sami day in Sami?
‘Lihkku Sámi Álbmotbeivviin!’
What is Sami nationality?
Sami are the indigenous people of Northern Sweden, Finland, Norway, and a small part of Russia.
How to Observe Sami National Day
Learn about the Sami people
Sami people are majorly indigenous and are relatively still considered a minority, but their culture is rich and unique. Learn about their traditions and history.
Eat the popular Sami dishes on Sami National Day. Try reindeer meat, or reinsdyrkjøtt and fish.
Wear traditional clothing
What better way to get into the spirit of the day than by wearing the traditional ‘gákti’ of the Sami people? Wear traditional Sami clothing with respect for the culture and heritage.
5 Interesting Facts About The Sami Flag
Designer of the flag
Astrid Båhl from Skibotn in Norway designed the flag of the Sami people.
The color scheme is intentional
The flag’s colors, red, blue, green, and yellow, are the same as in the traditional Sami costume known as 'kolt.'
The colors are also symbolic
The colors chosen represent essentials that are important for living — red for fire, green for plants, yellow for the sun, and blue for water.
The sun and the moon
The circles on the flag represent both the sun and the moon.
Municipal administrative buildings must fly the Norwegian flag and also the Sami flag.
Why Sami National Day is Important
It celebrates a minority group
The Sami people are well-celebrated throughout the region on this day, but it wasn’t always that way. The community has had a long history of struggle for appreciation, and we are all for giving it!
It is an important holiday
Sami National Day is overall a very important event for Norwegians. It is ideal for learning about the roots of the country’s culture, values, and history.
Globalization is gradually eliminating barriers and accepting people for who they are. Indigenous people and minorities are getting the recognition they deserve, and Sami National Day is one such day advocating this.
Sami National Day dates