Saami creation story
the sons and daughters of
the Sun and the Moon
“A legend has said,
A story has has been yoiking:
North from the fixed star (morning star),
West from the sun and moon,
Was in lichen silver and gold,
fireplace-stones, lowering stones for fishing;
Gold glitter, silver shines,
glaciers creating reflecting mirrors;
Suns, moons and stars shining,
Smiling at their mirror images;
The son of the sun preparing his ship for sailing,
taking on board important people.
The wind blows in the sails,
Maritime law drives the boat forward;
The waves escape the wind,
rolling the rudder,
The east wind causes the boat
to past the moon, to past the
shining and round disc of the sun.
Sun and Moon become smaller
than the morning star (The fixed star)
witch becoming greater than the large sun,
flushed with other rays,
dazzling with another shimmer,
Sailing for years,
the ship beat the waves,
Finally, a giant beach is in front,
peeking out of the eye, shines.
Giant’s young daughter, the seamstress
of the old blind man,
with a birch bark on fire at the beach … “
So begins a epic of Saami origin.
The poem is about the sons of the sun and their courtship to the land of the giants. A Saami creation story of the Sami people as children of the sun and the moon.
Saami poem that appears in all the Saami National Symbols
The poem of South-Saami Anders Fjellner has left deep tracks in the Saami culture.
Some examples are the Saami flag, wich has a circle in the middle, of which the red part of the circle representing the Sun and the blue part of the circle represents the Moon, ie the Saami as the children of the Sun and the Moon. The four colors represent the most common Sami colors found in the Saami costumes in Norway, Finland, Russia and Sweden. (In a post-construction it has been interpreted that the four colors representing that Saami lives in four countries and circle that the Saami, nevertheless, are united as one people. In an other after construction the Saami Parliament in Sweden tried to interpret the meaning of the coulors of the Sami flag as coulors of the nature; (Green-Nature for surviving, Blue-Water for elixir of life, Red-Fire for heat/love and Yellow-Sun for long life. The local Community of Lycksele has made a different interpretation of the colors of the Saami flag as they “symbolize the four elements, nature, water, fire and sun… the circle is a symbol of spirituality …”. The local Community of Sorsele mean “the colors also symbolize important survival elements of the Saami”. It is obvious that the Saami flag has become mythical!
The circle in the flag represent that the Saami are united as one people even if the Saami is diveded in several language and spread out in several countries (four coulers).
The Saami famoust multi-artist Nils-Aslak Valkeapää national epic “Beaivi, áhcážan” – “Sun, my father” from year 1988 has in both in the headline as in the text tracks of Fjellner poetry. The Saami Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, who was a Finnish citizen, was honored with a state funeral in Norway.
Likewise, there are traces of Anders Fjellner in the Saami national anthem ”Sámi soga lávlla“;
“Máttarádját mis leat dovle
vuoitán vearredahkkiid badjel.
Vuostálastot, vieljat, miige
Beaivvi bártniid nana nálli!
Eai du vuoitte vašálaččat,
jos fal gáhttet gollegielat,
muittát máttarmáttuid sáni:
“Our ancestors long ago
Trouble makers did defeat.
Let us, brothers, also resist
Staunchly our oppressors.
Oh, tough kin of the sun’s sons,
Never shall you be subdued
If you heed your golden Saami tongue,
Remember the ancestors’ word.
Saamiland for Saami!”
In 1986 was the Saami national anthem appointed as the official Saami national anthem.The text is written in 1906 by Sea-saami Isaac Saba (1875-1921) who was born in Nesseby, northern Norway.Isaac Saba was the first Saami who was elected to the Norwegian Parliament.The melody was composed by Arne Sørlie.
A Saami National poem created
In front of the Kings party in Gillesnuole, Sorsele, Sweden, July 9, 1843 wrote Anders Fjellner down the poem about the “sons of the sun”. The poem was first published in newspapers in northern Sweden in September 2, 1843 and in Germany in 1849 “Sonnensöhne.Ein episches Ge dicht der Lappen”. The poem was published in a number of newspapers both in Sweden and abroad as the St. Petersburger Zeitung and Helsinki Morgonblad, and in several books.
Anders Fjellner himself said that the poem is based on one of his recorded yoik of the old Saami man “Leuhnje” in Torne Lapland, Northern Sweden/Northern Finland. The poem would then be build on a Saami legend. Any documents of Fjellner has not been preserved. This has created difficulties in both the interpretation of the poem as well as several translations are available. However, it is most likely, in my opinion, that Anders Fjellner himself stands as the author of the poem. Anyway, if Anders Fjellner has not been recorded a Saami legend, he has created a Saami legend.
Anders Fjellner – Saami national poet
The Saami vicar Bo Lundmark calls Anders Fjellner for Saami Homer in his doctoral thesis, University of Uppsala in 1982, “Baeivi Manno Nástit – Sun and moon cult among the Saami People.” Lundmark has also published a book about the poem “Anders Fjellner – Saami Homer – and the poetry of sons of the Sun” 1979th
Anders Fjellner is without a doubt Saami’s greatest poet and a national poet for the Saami People.
Translations of the poem
Anders Fjellner, who was a South Saami and spoke South Saami language, served for a long time in the north of Sweden and learned Northern Saami language. The poem is written in a mix of North and South Saami languages. This has meant that there are several translations and different interpretations of the poem. The above translation is one of the original example, while Saami priest Bo Lundmark has a slightly different translation in his book about Anders Fjellner.
Meaning of the poem
At first sight, the poem “Sons of the Sun” looks easy to understand. The “Fixed Star” and “Morning star” is undoubtedly the North Star. But what is meant by “People of the Sunny side” and “People of the Moon side” to take a few examples? Could it involve people from a sunnier and more southern area (People of the Sunny side) and another people from a cold and in the winter darker northern area (People of the Moon side)?
Other poems of Saami origin
There is one more poem about Saami origin, which caused a big debate when published in its time over 150 years ago. The poem is, according to a source, a recorded Saami legend in a yoik that tells about a Sami trail north to a fate land. The Saami Peoples way north to Saamiland went, according to legend, by Skane (County of Skåne in southernmost Sweden? – The word Skane is a Saami word explained in the legend as a shoulder bone), Vettarjaure (The lake Vättern in in south of Sweden? – The word Vettar is a Saami word explained in the legend as a lake with high shores in Saami), Garraguoika, (Trollhättan in the south of Sweden? – The word Garraguoika is a Saami word explained in the legend as a dangerous waterfall) and Mellijaure (Lake Mälaren in the south of Sweden?) persecuted by the people Svialads (Swedish People or Germanic tribe? ). The legend was subjected to several analysis, publications and debates of his time. A Legend I shall return later in this blog!
Have legends or old stories relevance for today’s society?