The sun

Norwegians have a very mixed relationship with the sun. Since Norway is located so far to the north we have what we call “mørketid” (dark time) and “midnattsol” (midnight sun) in the northern parts. Where the polar circle marks the place where those north of it experience summer days where the sun shines 24 hours a day, and winter days where they get no sun at all. The farther north you go the longer these periods last. In the rest of the country the summer days are long and the winter days are short.

This is where our kind of Christmas celebration comes from. Long before Christianity came to us we celebrated “vintersolverv”, or “joul” as it was called. Now we call it jul. It is a celebration of the fact that the sun is “turning” and the days are getting longer. You can read more about it in another entry about our Christmas celebrations.

Our midnight sun is a great experience. It does strange things to your body to be in a place where the sun doesn’t set at all, where you have no idea what the time is and don’t need much sleep. In the winter the only good thing about the darkness is the fact that people gather inside, and the Aurora borealis, what we call polarlys (polar lights). It’s an amazing sight if you are lucky enough to see it. I have seen just a little bit of what can be an amazing light show.

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