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Nimipäivät | Namsdagar | Name days

Sámi Name Days

In 1997, the Sámi name day calendar was entered in Yliopiston nimipäiväalmanakka(University Name Day Almanac) by Professor Pekka Sammallahti of the University of Oulu. He also owns the copyright to it. This list of name days is considered an important cultural achievement in Finland and also the other Nordic countries that do not have the same kinds of calendars.

There are 565 names in the Sámi name day calendar, 334 of which are male names and 231 female names. A majority of the names in the calendar are Sámic forms of foreign names, only some of them are traditional Sámi names. For example, the Sámi name for Hilma is Hilbmá and the name forHarald is Háral. Examples of names of Sámic origin include the female name Juoksáhkká and the male name Ahkebeaivi. No revisions to the calendar have been made after 1997.

According to data provided by the Sámi Parliament of Finland, there are approximately 10,000 Sámi in the country. Sámi name giving differs quite much from name giving amongst the other populations in the country. Popular names since the 1990s have included Jere, Áilu, Johan and Matias for boys and Sunna, Inka, Laura and Maria for girls.

The number of names of Sámic origin has increased in the 2000s. The Sámi having their own name day calendar had an influence on this. The beginning of 2004 saw the enactment of the Sámi Language Act, a law that safeguards the Sámi the right to maintain and develop their own language and culture and use their own language with authorities. This law has also increased the use of Sámi-language names.

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