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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Sun cele­bra­ti­on – 08 March 2016

Sun cele­bra­ti­on – 08 March 2016

Astro­no­me­rs will tell you that the sun is com­ing back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en on 16 Febru­a­ry, and this is inde­ed the first day it is com­ing back abo­ve the hori­zon again. But as the sett­le­ment is sur­roun­ded by moun­tains, the sun will not come back to Lon­gye­ar­by­en befo­re 08 March. No doubt this is good rea­son to cele­bra­te, as peop­le didn’t get any sun­light for 4 mon­ths – well, most will have been some­whe­re south on holi­day, but local­ly, at least. Ever­y­bo­dy is loo­king for­ward to the return of the sun, and this is cele­bra­ted with a week of events, the sol­fest­u­ke (sun cele­bra­ti­on week).

Part of it is the sol­fest­re­vue, a sta­ge event tra­di­tio­nal­ly held in Huset and not in the more recent, modern and cen­tral­ly loca­ted Kul­tur­huset (cul­tu­re house). Many events of the last 12 mon­ths are pas­sing by again, alt­hough qui­te detail­ed know­ledge of local events and gos­sip (and Nor­we­gi­an lan­guage) is cer­tain­ly hel­pful to get the mes­sa­ge in many cases. From Store Nor­ske, which is faced with the pha­se­out of lar­ge parts of its acti­vi­ties in the 100th year of its exis­tence, so may­be the future will see this very tra­di­tio­nal com­pa­ny com­ing back as Store Tor­ske, ven­tu­ring on new paths in the fishing busi­ness? To local poli­tics and poli­ti­ci­ans, some of whom are ama­zin­gly fle­xi­ble in their opi­ni­ons over time as any­whe­re else in the world, to local Sval­bar­di­ans who occa­sio­nal­ly come up with ama­zing ide­as, such as tes­ting important snow mobi­le rou­tes in town by car (no, it does not work).

Fol­lowing a nice tra­di­ti­on, Sval­bard Kir­ke invi­ted to an open air church sur­vice on Hiorthfjel­let, con­fi­dent­ly as always held by Sok­ne­prest Leif Magne Hel­ge­sen. No sur­pri­se he was elec­ted as Sval­bar­di­an of the year. Add the magni­ficent sur­roun­dings and glo­rious wea­ther to the ser­vice (a true Leif show!), and you have got some­thing not to be mis­sed.

The high­light was of cour­se the actu­al sol­fest (sun cele­bra­ti­on) on 08 March. Not the least due to the gre­at wea­ther. This date has often been clou­dy in recent histo­ry, and so were the last cou­p­le of weeks. A sun cele­bra­ti­on without sun is a bit like a wed­ding without a bri­de.

Gal­le­ry Sun cele­bra­ti­on – 08 March 2016

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

Today, it was to be dif­fe­rent. Not the sligh­test cloud on the sky! Several hund­red peop­le, inclu­ding many child­ren deco­ra­ted with yel­low scar­ves with the shape of sun rays, had gathe­red around the stairs of the for­mer hos­pi­tal (pre WWII, not­hing but the stairs are left) near the church, as this is the first part of town to which the sun returns. The child­ren are chee­ring to the sun: sol, sol, kom igjen! Sola er min bes­te venn! (Sun, sun, come back! The sun is my best friend! Admit­ted­ly, rhy­me and rhythm do work much bet­ter in Nor­we­gi­an). The­re are songs, the­re is some tal­king, the­re is good vibes in the air, lots of it. And then, the­re is the sun. A moving moment when the light is tur­ned on abo­ve Lars­breen and the sun rays are fal­ling on the crowd, war­ming faces and hearts, cheer­ful­ly wel­co­med by ever­y­bo­dy. Some more songs, then peop­le are going the­re way. The dark time is over for this win­ter.

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2016-09-21 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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