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What is the Sámi Flag?

The current Sámi flag was designed by the artist Astrid Båhl and approved by the 13th Nordic Sámi Conference in 1986. It was a revision of an earlier Sámi flag, designed by Synnøve Persen in 1977. The newer flag added a circle (representing the sun and the moon) and a green stripe, to the red, yellow and blue of Persen’s design. The sun and moon symbol derives from similar symbols on old Sámi shamanic drums, and was inspired by the Sámi poet Anders Fjellner’s (1795-1876) epic poem “Paiven Parneh” (The Son of the Sun), which tells of the origins of the Sámi people as descendants of the Son of the Sun and a giantess.

The Sámi flag was deliberately designed to be different from the Nordic cross flags, and does not comply with the rules of European heraldry. This is, in part, to show that the Sámi nation is not part of the Eurocentric state system.

Today the Sámi flag is recognized and honored in Norway, Sweden and Finland on eleven official flag days, adopted by the Saami Conference in Helsinki, 1992 the Saami Conference in Murmansk, 1996 and the Sámi Conference in Tråante 2017:

  1. February 6th – The National Day of the Sámi People which celebrates the memory of the first national gathering of the Sámi, which was held in Trondheim in 1917

  2. March 2nd – Opening of the new Saami Parliament of Finland in 1996

  3. March 25th – Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, traditional Sámi holiday

  4. Midsummer's day - official holiday

  5. August 9th – UN International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

  6. August 15th – The Sámi flag was adoped on this date in 1986

  7. August 18th – The Sámi Council was founded on this date in 1956

  8. August 26th – The Sámi Parliament of Sweden was founded on this date in 1993

  9. October 9th – The Sámi Parliament of Norway was founded on this date in 1989

  10. November 9th – The Delegation for Saami Issues in Finland was founded on this date in 1973

  11. November 29th - Elsa Laula Renberg was born on this date

  12. November 15th - Isak Saba was born on this date in 1875 (he wrote the national anthem of the Sámi)