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Sámi costumes

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  • Paula Daabach
    I m from Sweden and our natives in Scandinavia are called Sámi. The Sámi have kept their tradition in costumes for a long time. The traditional Sámi costume
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2008
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      I'm from Sweden and our natives in Scandinavia are called Sámi. The
      Sámi have kept their tradition in costumes for a long time. The
      traditional Sámi costume consists of a "kolt" which is kind of like a
      tunic. The "kolt" is made out of bright colored broad cloth and has
      colorful decorations around the neckline and the sleeves. They wear a
      multicolored belt, where they usually hang their knife and kuksa. The
      women wears colorful broad cloth dresses with a belt. Both men and
      women have decorations on their clothes and they wear detailed
      jewelry made out of tin, brass and silver. Earlier they used shoes
      that were made out of reindeer hides, but nowadays they use what we
      would consider "normal" footwear. In everyday life Sámi use western
      clothes, but for special occasions like funerals, weddings and
      important meetings they wear their traditional Sámi costumes. Their
      clothes are so different from what any other Scandinavian would
      normally wear so they stand out in their beautiful garments. Each
      Sámi community has different decorations on their costumes, so if you
      know the symbols of the decorations, you can tell from what community
      that person comes from. In the south braids and plaits are more
      common decorations while the northern Sámi decorate their costumes
      with symbols from their old ceremonial drum. More important people
      have more decorations on their "kolts", belts and dresses and wear
      richer jewelries than less important people. I guess the bright
      colors and the decorations attract other people. The costumes are eye-
      catchers in themselves, so in a crowd of many you need to have the
      brightest and most decorative clothing to get attention. I would
      think the Sámi express their individual taste in clothing when they
      are dressed in everyday clothing. Most Sámi still use some Sámi
      jewelry or decoration even when they are not dressed in their
      traditional costumes. In this way people can always tell that they
      are native, even if they are dressed as the other Scandinavians.
      However, Sámi jewelry has become more and more popular and non native
      people use it more extensively. I have some Sámi jewelry myself and I
      make Sámi earrings every now and then for family and friends, even
      though I'm not Sámi.
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