"During this particular period of the year the everyday life rhythm slows down but doesn´t stop."
Between darkness and twilight, a lot of cosiness
Starting in mid-January, the sun rises above the horizon once again, ending several weeks of polar darkness.
During the polar nights, the northern lights, starry skies and bright moon provide a natural luminosity that makes the snow glitter and wraps the surroundings in a dream-like atmosphere. During this particular period of the year the everyday life rhythm slows down but doesn´t stop.
However cosy and special this darkness period is, all northern Greenland impatiently awaits the return of the sun. That special day will be another good opportunity to celebrate with family, friends and community.
From mid-January to mid-February, after several weeks of relative polar darkness, the sun will officially return to the many towns and settlements located above the Arctic Circle.
Greeting the sun tradition
In the weeks before the sun returns, school children will actively prepare songs and make drawings to honor the daylight and sunshine. All the kids get ready for their annual school hike to the view point where they can welcome the sun.
In Ilulissat, on the 13th of January at about 13.00, 1/3 of Ilulissat community will gather on Seqinniarfik (in Greenlandic it means ”the place where to go and greet the sun”). Everyone will sing songs to welcome back a dear old friend.
"All the kids get ready for their annual school hike to the view point where they can welcome the sun."
Aasiaat: January 13th
Ilulissat: January 13th
Qeqertarsuaq: January 13th
Ittoqqortoormiit: January 19th
Uummannaq: February 4th
Upernavik: February 6th
Qaanaaq area: February 17th
The sun will return on different dates depending on the town location
The towns closest to the Arctic Circle are the first to welcome the sun's return. The northernmost towns must wait until later in the season.
One thing is for sure though: all communities across North Greenland will be celebrating the return of the sun after its long absence. Here you can see when the sun returns in some of the main towns and settlements in Northern Greenland.
For more information about why there's polar nights and midnight sun, see this animation and explanation from www.educapoles.org - requires flash player and that you click the animation to activate it.
Despite all the community's preparations to welcome the sun's return, sometimes nature has different plans! This year, the sun returned 3 days ahead of schedule in the town of Qeqertarsuaq.
Apparently the eye witness of the phenomenon (who took some of the pictures used in this article), had taken a hike on a high mountain. Being several hundred meters above sea level, he could then see what the others in the village could not see yet - the sun was there, above the horizon.
Like everything in life, it´s just a matter of perspective.
"Like everything in life, it´s just a matter of perspective."