December 21, 2009

The Longest Night.

The celebration of the winter solstice is a celebration of the sun. Sun equals life and its absence in winter is so very obvious in my part of the world.

The tradition of the solstice observance and the worship of the sun stretches back millennia in time. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites such as Stonehenge in Britain and New Grange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (New Grange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge).

The sun travels in an astounding yearly journey across the Nordic sky as it creates a difference of almost eleven hours in daylight between our June and December. However, throughout the seasons, it is at all times a source of awe and beauty. In spring and autumn, it creates magical sunsets and paints the evening sky in every shade of orange, red and purple. It gives rise to endless days in the summer, never truly setting, during the magical white nights, as it slowly moves into a late night sunrise. And then it becomes absent in the winter, when our daylight is a twilight at the best and we can barely glimpse the golden disc in the absolute south, if the winter day is clear.

Therefore today is a very important day to us living in Scandinavia. The longest night is upon us, thus signifying the return of the sun.



22 comments:

Miss Eve said...

And I'm a little bit happy we are over on the longest night LOL. That means we are slowly (very slowly) start going into spring :-) Hurra!

In case I'm running out of time I wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season dear Zuzana, much love: Evi

Brian Miller said...

what beautiful colors....purple to orange...cant help but sing..."here comes the sun.." smiles.

Leah said...

Awwwwwww, what lovely images.

steviewren said...

The color of the winter sky is a beautiful color of dark blue. We don't really see the sky that midnight blue color here in the South. I think it is beautiful.

ps Yes, Rachel is my daughter.

Bachelor said...

Wow... so different and unique! Thanks for sharing sharing your Scandinavia longes night and the return of the sun. The sky is beautiful... time to cozy up to the fire with a good book and some great music! Christmas is coming!The Bach

Hilary said...

Even though our days are still longer here than where you are, I also look forward to them lengthening toward spring. The worst weather is still ahead but the days will be a bit brighter for longer and who could complain about that? Lovely photos as always, my friend. :)

Julie Hibbard said...

Wow...3:20! That IS an early sunset. Your photographs always convey a sense of peace...
Have a beautiful Christmas week!

Claus said...

Living in a corner where very few seasons happen, and where the sun is present always, one can't help but be in awe at the changes other nations experience weather-wise. I can't help but think how back in time they perceived these changes, if today - with every technology available - still surprises us. We experienced a very long night from Sunday to Monday. It got dark at 5 in the afternoon on Sunday, and it was 7 am on Monday, and very dark still. I did not want to wake up! :-) It is very odd for us indeed, yet kind of cool!
Have a lovely Monday!

Zuzu said...

My daughter & I visited Stonehenge years ago, and as people walked & talked around it - I stood quiet, and in awe.
Always a joy to read & see what goes on where you live, Zuzana.

Enjoy this beautiful Winter Solstice,
Zuzu

Keith said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I enjoyed it. I'm having a lot of trouble with my internet access at this moment, but I did want to make sure I commented back. Take care. Have a great week.

Keith said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I enjoyed it. I'm having a lot of trouble with my internet access at this moment, but I did want to make sure I commented back. Take care. Have a great week.

MelRoXx said...

HEY! Why didn't I find out before! You know what ? I stayed up that night! I wondered why it seemed so long... I MISSED OUT ON A VERY COMFORTABLE SLEEP *dabs tears*

MelRoXx said...

lol but that was last year! Its around 10 pm 21st Dec Monday right now... NOW I AM DETERMINED TO STAY UP ALL NIGHT!

LadyCat said...

Your photos are beautiful! It is always nice to get past the longest night of the year because then daylight will increase ever so slightly from now until spring. Although I do love the night, it's a bit much when I go to work & leave work in the dark here in the midwest.

Kath said...

Happy Solstice my Bloggy friend! I am raising a glas of warm Gluwein to you now, here in England. Kath

Four Seasons in a Life said...

I am very touched by your post, including the previous one.

There is something very grounding by your words. They are also reassuring in a time when so much has been uncertain for too long.

Warmest regards to you and your family this holiday season,
Egmont

Michael Manning said...

Zuzana: I want to wish you a very special Merry Christmas. Your photos are absolutely beautiful and capture the essence of your writing! lol! Very heartwarming!! :)

jeannette stgermain said...

Happy for you that soon the days will start lengthening! As well as more light during the day, probably!

sprinkles said...

3:20 PM sunset?! OMG! It's a gorgeous photo though, I love the mixture of blue and purple together.

I'm glad the days will slowly get a little longer now. The bad thing is that I'm very much a night person. If it's daylight out, I don't want to go to sleep.

Betsy said...

Can't believe the sun set at 3:20 in the afternoon! You will really be craving those long-lit days, won't you! Each day is closer! :)

Myussop said...

Dear Zuzana,
As usual your stories about Scandanavia amazes me and this one is no exception.Oh,truly magical skies. Been busy lately but before I forget here's me wishing you a very Merry X'mas and a Happy New Year.May you be Blessed and be Blessed Always.
Mahmud,Sarawak, Borneo.

Protege said...

Evi, Brian, Leah, Stevie, The Bach, Hilary, Julie, Claudia, Zuzu, Keith, Mel, LadyCat, Kath, Egmont (welcome!), Michael, jeannette, sprinkles, Betsy and Mahmud – thank you all for your kind words and for sharing your own sentiments on what the solstice means to you.
It is indeed a large difference in light between summer and winter for us up in the North and we all look forward to the return of the light.

xoxo
Zuzana