суббота, 2 мая 2009 г.

Postcard from Finland

The Sámi people, (also known as Lapps, although this term is considered derogatory) are the indigenous people of northern Europe inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. Their ancestral lands span an area the size of Sweden in the Nordic countries. The Sámi people are among the largest indigenous ethnic groups in Europe. Their traditional languages are the Sámi languages, which are classified as members of the Finno-Lappic group of the Uralic language family.

Traditionally, the Sámi have plied a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding. However, the best known Sami livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding - which about 10% of the Sámi are connected with and 2,800 actively involved with full-time. For traditional, cultural, and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved only for Sámi people in certain regions of the Nordic countries.

Gakti or gákti, as it is written in Northern Sámi, is a piece of traditional clothing worn by the Sámi in northern areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The gákti is worn both in ceremonial contexts and while working, particularly when herding reindeer. The traditional Sami costume is characterized by a dominant color adorned with contrast colored bands, plaits, pewter embroidery, tin art, and often a high collar. In the Norwegian language it is called 'kofte', most probably due to the word "gákti" being somewhat similar to the word 'kofte' in the accusative, genitive, locative and comitative case (gávtti/gaftti, gávtti/gaftti, gávttis/gafttis, gávtiin/gafttijn).

A pattern of a Metal goldwork (embroidery) collar for a traditional Sami peoples male garment (costume) from Åsele, Västerbotten, Sweden. The Sami gákti is a National costume (folk costume) and the metal tread most commonly used for the embroidery is Pewter.

The colours, patterns and the jewellery of the clothing can tell if a person is single or married and where the person is from. There are different gákti for women and men; men's gákti have a shorter "skirt" than women's. Traditionally the gákti was made from reindeer leather, but nowadays it's more common to use wool, cotton or silk. The gákti can be used with a belt (pleated, quilted or with silver buttons), silver jewellery, traditional leather footwear and a silk scarf. It is also a tradition that if your buttons on the belt are square, it shows that you are married. If they are round, you are single/not married yet. If a married couple divorce, and the ex-husband continue to use the Sami costume made by his ex-wife, he signals that he still wants her.

Two Finns dressed up in fake gákti outside of Rovaniemi, Finland. Though at first glance authentic, the patterns on these gáktis are not traditional anywhere in Sapmi

The Finnish tourist industry is notorious for displaying fake "sami culture" for tourists. Ethnically Finnish actors dress up in fake "gáktis" and perform fake "traditional rituals". This activity has been met with fierce protests from ethnic Sámi since it creates a false image of Sámi culture, diverts tourist industry money from ethnic Sámi to ethnic Finns (thereby exploiting the Sámi presence in Lappland without giving anything back to the Sámi) and is dishonest towards tourists.

The Four Winds hat (in Sami čiehgahpir) is one version of traditional man's hat of the Sami. The basis is a simple blue cylinder, decorated with a red band with braid patterns, but the top is a large, four-cornered star, colored bright blue with parts bright red and yellow. The decoration in an actual Sami hat is, like the rest of the Sami costume, indicative of the person's place of origin or even his clan, much like the Scottish tartan.


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