Welcome to Russian Lapland
Saami Sámi Lappi; indigenous people of Kola Peninsula
The origin of the
Saami nationality on Kola Peninsula.
The Saami Nationality has arisen on the territory of Scandinavia and Kola
Peninsula in the second and first millennium BC as a result of merge of Finno-Ugric tribes,
that arrived here from northern Ural with the tribes from the country between
the two rivers, Oka and Wolga, that arrived earlier on Kola Peninsula, somewhere in the beginning of third millennium BC.
The ancestors of the modern Saami are called Proto-Lapps.
About two and a half millenniums of isolated life were
finished at the end of the first millennium of the Common Era, when Russian and
Finnish traders began penetrating on Kola Peninsula and Norwegians began to grow roots at
the Barents Sea coast. The active and much more aggressive southerners have
quickly subordinated the Saami and forced them to render tribute. At the same
time, despite of the prevalence of newly arrived nations, the culture and the way
of life of the Saami were so unusual and remembered that very soon all the area
populated by Saami began to be referred to as Lapland. Long time the borders
between Swedish, Russian and Norwegian Lapland were determined by tribute collectors. Consequently, the
Saami living by the borders were quite often rendering tribute to the two or even to the
three kings. To avoid it, the Saami families were aspired to move to the
places where the tribute was less burdensome and the family connections was more strong.
Increasing artificial isolation of several groups of one nation during
several centuries and contacts of the Russian Saami with another
reindeer-breeding nation of Komi - Izhemtsy during the last century, have
resulted in forming of appreciable distinctions in the
Saami costume, traditions and folklore. But main peculiarity of Saami living on the territory of four countries now, remained - they were and
have stayed the "Reindeers Nation".
The Reindeers Nation
The way of living of the most
Saami differs very little from the way of
living of the neighbouring nations, but Saami families are moving to undercover
forest houses, to game-preserves of their grandfathers as soon as the warm time
of year comes. They less appreciate all boons of civilizations than the way of
life which their ancestors were conducting for centuries and even for
millenniums ago. Perhaps, the ancestors of the Saami have achieved much more
than we have got used to think. They have achieved a harmony in mutual relations
with a nature, which is unattainable for us so far. The nature of the north was
giving to the Saami all the blessings that they required in abundance. It was
dressing them, feeding and keeping them and the Saami were finding the
satisfaction of their spiritual needs in a dialogue with a nature.
In the pagan times the
Saami idolized the animals and birds,
saint stones (seids), trees and soil, but a special place in the Saami folklore was certainly
occupied by reindeers, to be more exact - the man - reindeer Myandash. The reindeer Myandash
might turn into man by his own wish.
The Saami have originated from his marriage with the woman Matryona by one of
the legends, by another – all their children became reindeers and have left to
tundra after their father.
It seems that the national Saami costume has
absorbed the bright and pure colours of the Kola North. The love of the Saami to
the bright and cheerful colours and ornamental pattern you can notice everywhere
- in the trim of clothes, footwear, mittens, handbags and reindeers harnesses.
The favourite colours are red and dark blue. Each Saami village differs from the
others by its own traditions
of decoration of the costumes. Girl from Lovozero village, dressed in
More information of Russian Lapland and about the
Saami you can find on the following pages: