These are very special days in Northern Norway. After a long winter when the sun never rises, it finally comes back in the end of January and it stays for a long time!
As a celebration of sun, we have put together this special playlist on Spotify for you to enjoy and celebrate the extra rays of sunshine 🙂
Imagine not seeing the sun for three months (or even more) and nights lasting for 20 hours. Villages and cities are illuminated by a dim light for two or three hours, and that’s it. This phenomenon is called Polar Night, and it happens in the regions of the Northern part of the planet, due to the inclination of the Earth. On the other side is the phenomenon of Midnight Sun; the nights don’t exist at all during the summer months.
In the city of Tromsø, the sun gets officially back from the long winter on the 19th January. However, we still can not see it this day because Tromsø is surrounded by mountains. The ‘day of the sun’ is celebrated when we are able to see the sun from the steps of the Tromsø Cathedral (usually, around 21st January).
Even if we only see buildings from the Tromsø Cathedral these days, the “day of the sun” is highly celebrated with the Solboller, or sunbun. It’s a yellow coloured sweet bread with a custard centre. If the “day of the sun” happens to be cloudy, then the celebrations are held off until the next day when the sky is clear.
Not only in Tromsø, but almost in every place where the sun doesn’t appear at all during the long winter, it’s highly celebrated when it’s finally back. The bravest even go for a bath in the icy and frozen Arctic waters!
In Spite of the long dark days of winter in Northern Norway, researchs have shown that the people who live in this areas have lower rates of wintertime depression than we could expect. The reason could be that Norwegians know how to enjoy winter! To know more about this topic, read this article.
As Spring comes, the sun will continue to rise over Norway day after day. On 15th February, Svalbard (Norway’s northernmost territory, where the sun never rises for 6 months), will finally see the sun light.
Photo on the top: Stròlic Furlàn – Davide Gabino
written by María de la Cruz Gutierrez & Katarina Vlkova