See the Dance of the Northern Lights

Located in the deep wilderness, where there are no city lights, the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) is yours to behold.   The Aurora Borealis is the collision of charged particles from the Sun with gas particles from Earth.  When these particles collide, there is a beautiful burst of color in the sky.   Of course, because of Mother Nature, we do not know when this natural phenomenon occurs, but it is best visible in the winter months.

Finland-        Swirls of vibrant colors look like they have been painted in the night sky.  You lie in your toasty warm bed and gaze above, through the glass ceiling.  Snowdrifts are surrounding your igloo and it is completely quiet.   This amazing scene can come to life for you with a visit to Urho Kekkonen National Park in Finland.  Hotel Kakslauttanen has the most magical of accommodations for its customers.  They have custom glass igloos situated in the Finland forest, perfect for seeing the dance of the Northern Lights.   Each igloo is fit for two people, with a glass ceiling and walls for ultimate viewing.

Sweden-        With this country being close to the Arctic Circle, the proximity means that it is located within the “Auroral Oval”.  This is where prime activity occurs with the Northern Lights.  A fantastic place to visit would be Abisko National Park.  Hotels, guided tours, and backcountry camping are all available to travelers.  If you don’t wish to go out in the cold, you can see the dancing Northern Lights from your snuggly hotel room, which provides an Aurora Borealis webcam.  Braving the outdoors will offer a better view though, especially taking a chair lift ride up to the Aurora Sky Station, located within the park.

Alaska, USA-     For travelers interested in seeing the Northern Lights from the United States, Alaska is the place to be.  When visiting this area, it is best to be in a location with few city lights, such as Denali and the Yukon Territory.  Winter months are the only time to see this phenomenon, usually October and March.  Grande Denali Lodge sits in a central location and visitors will have a short drive to get removed from the city lights.   For an extra convenience, Alaska provides a Northern Lights forecast to help visitors plan their viewing trips.

Greenland-      September through April is the viewing months if you would like to explore Greenland.  Although the Aurora Borealis can be seen throughout the entire country, rumor has it that South Greenland provides the best light show.  On the coast, in the town of Sydproven, is Seaside Whale Hotel.  Brilliant views, along with free breakfasts, you really can’t go wrong with choosing to stay here.  Waiting until midnight and stepping into the darkness, you will see a spectacular show in the sky.

Iceland-     The Golden Circle area of Iceland makes for a wonderful vacation that includes the Northern Lights.  This area is located in Reykjavik, Iceland.  If you want to go all out, the 4 star Hotel Thingholt will be to your liking.  This facility is near shopping, the historic center, restaurants, bars and nightlife.  There are plenty of things to do, fit for the whole family.  Be sure to leave your late nights open though.  If it’s dark, cold, and clear, the Northern Lights will be all the entertainment you need.

There are many myths and folklore about the Northern Lights.  Different countries/ areas have their own stories and ideas about these mystical lights and many hold the myths to be true.  These stories have been passed on throughout time, told to the next generation, trying to explain the dancing lights.

The people who live in Northern Sweden, Finland, and Norway are know as “The Lapps”.  Traditionally, these people believed that the lights were the energies of departed souls.   When the lights appeared in the sky, townspeople were to behave solemnly and be respectful to the souls.  If anyone decided to be disrespectful, it was thought that they would have misfortune, which could result in sickness or death.

In other areas of the world, the lights were more associated with dancing spirits.  In Norway folklore, it was thought that the lights were old maids dancing and waving in the sky.  In Scotland, the Northern Lights are called the “merry dancers”.  Several Eskimo tribes also connect the lights with dancing spirits, who were believed to be children whom died at birth.  After passing, the spirits would dance up in the heavens.

Some believe that the Aurora Borealis brought on war and sickness.  Stories of this can be found in ancient Greek writings.  For those who thought the lights were an ill omen, it must have been very frightening to see the mysterious lights appear in the sky.  With all of the fears, it is widely known that you should not sing, wave or whistle at the lights, as it will bring bad luck.  Spirits from the sky will come down and take the person away.  To fend off the evil spirits, one should clap their hands.  Nowadays, it is rare to find anyone that still believes evil spirits will take them away, but they still hold back from whistling.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who believe that the Northern Lights bring good luck.  Back in time, Scandinavians believed the Aurora resembled a huge school of fish.  This would bring fisherman good luck in catching many fish.  The Swedes and some Eskimo thought good luck would be brought to the crops and a bountiful harvest would be had.  In Chinese and Japanese culture, it was thought that a child who was conceived under the Northern Lights would have good fortune.

You can believe any of the myths and folklore that you wish.  It really doesn’t matter what you believe.  All that matters is you get yourself out to see this rare magical event.  Brought on by Mother Nature, particles colliding in our atmosphere make for the most amazing sights.  One winter, choose your location and go see the dance of the Northern Lights.