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HomeArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Sol­fest: Sola er til­ba­ke – the sun is back!

Sol­fest: Sola er til­ba­ke – the sun is back!

Sola e’ til­ba­ke! That was the mot­to of the day last Fri­day (seve­ral day ago alre­a­dy, time is run­ning!), which was THE big day: sol­fest – sun fest – in Lon­gye­ar­by­en!

As men­tio­ned, the sun has actual­ly retur­ned to the lower part of Lon­gye­ar­by­en, near Advent­fjord, seve­ral days befo­re …

Sun, Longyearbyen

Sun in lower Lon­gye­ar­by­en, Fri­day (8.3.) mor­ning.

… but as tho­se parts of Lon­gye­ar­by­en did not exist back then, the sol­fest is tra­di­tio­nal­ly and duly cele­bra­ted on 08 March, short­ly after 12.30 hours, as the sun returns to the stairs of the old hos­pi­tal. This old hos­pi­tal buil­ding is long gone, but the stairs from the back door are still the­re. Actual­ly, the stairs are said to be a recon­s­truc­tion so peo­p­le know whe­re to cele­bra­te, but any­way … they are next to the kin­der­gar­ten clo­se to the Sval­bard church. So that is whe­re ever­y­bo­dy meets on sol­fest-day at 12.30 hours. Hundreds of peo­p­le gather to wel­co­me and cele­bra­te the sun! Espe­ci­al­ly the child­ren, dres­sed as litt­le suns, real­ly sweet. Ever­y­bo­dy is sin­ging and chee­ring the sun up, who is doing her best to climb abo­ve the moun­tain: Sol! Sol! Komm igjen! Sola er min bes­te venn! – Sun! Sun! Come on! The sun is my best fri­end! The rhy­me does not real­ly work in Eng­lish, well.

Sunrise during the solfest, Longyearbyen

Sun­ri­se abo­ve Lars Hier­taf­jel­let during the sol­fest in Lon­gye­ar­by­en,
Fri­day noon (8.3.).

And final­ly, here she is! The sun, bright as ever, clim­bs over the rim of Lars Hier­ta­fel­let, behind Lars­breen, and the­re is gre­at chee­ring and jubi­la­ti­on. It is real­ly an emo­tio­nal moment! The­re has not been any direct sun­light in Lon­gye­ar­by­en during 5 months, due to the moun­ta­ins around the sett­le­ment.

Sun, Gipshuken

Sun­ny view towards Gips­hu­ken and Bil­lefjord.

Yes, the sun is back. It is gre­at to be out­side, to enjoy the light-floo­ded land­scape and to feel the sun on the skin.

Sun, Nordenskiöld Land

Sun over Nor­dens­ki­öld Land.

But, it is and remains icy cold, the ther­mo­me­ter is rather con­stant­ly some­whe­re near minus 20 degrees cen­ti­gra­de. The­re is fresh ice near the shore of Advent­fjord, but a solid ice cover just does not want to form in spi­te of the cold. The warm water sup­p­ly coming with the West Spits­ber­gen Cur­rent (“Gulf Stream”) is inex­haus­ti­ble, I guess. Unfort­u­na­te­ly. A fro­zen Advent­fjord, that would be gre­at. We have not had that for quite a few years.

Ice, Adventfjord

Fresh ice forming near the shore of Advent­fjord, in Hior­th­hamn.



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last modification: 2019-03-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange