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Northern Lights and mythology

Through the ages, the northern lights have awed human beings and inspired countless myths, legends, and folklore. Seeing this fascinating natural phenomenon in which bright colors dance across the night sky has long been at the top of the wish list for travelers across the world. Norway is one of the best places for chasing the aurora borealis, and in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this captivating natural wonder!
Northern Lights in Tromsø - Norway
Tromsø Friluftsenter

What are the northern lights?

The northern lights are a natural phenomenon that occurs when solar winds mix with the Earth’s magnetic field. The resulting streams of light are most visible to us during the night when the sky is dark. It’s a captivating, atmospheric natural wonder that has entranced people since the dawn of time. The gorgeous, colorful display across the dark night sky is truly a sight to behold and not something you’re likely to forget easily. Since northern Norway is located just below the auroral oval, it’s generally considered to be one of the best places in the world for chasing the northern lights.
These days, we understand the science behind the aurora borealis and can appreciate the beauty of the colorful lights flickering across the sky. But many years ago, human beings would have looked up at the unique display in the sky with no way of knowing that this is a phenomenon that naturally occurs. It’s, therefore, no surprise that people developed many different explanations for it.
Northern lights Winter  - Tromsø ,Norway
Gaute Bruvik / Www.nordnorge.com
In Norse mythology, the northern lights feature prominently and have inspired countless tales and stories. It was believed that the aurora lights were the Bifrost bridge connecting Asgard and Midgard, and they were there to guide warriors who had died in combat to their resting place in Valhalla.
Other stories suggested that the captivating lights were actually reflections of the shields and body armor used by the Valkyrie. The Valkyrie were female warriors who chose who would die in battle and led fallen warriors who had been chosen to join Odin at Valhalla.
In the Nordic countries, there were a lot of different beliefs about the northern lights and superstitions related to the phenomenon. Pregnant women were told to avoid looking at the lights until their baby had been born, as it was believed that this would ensure safe delivery. In some parts of Norway, people believed that a baby born while the northern lights were out in full force may hold special powers.
Things to do in Tromso - Culinary Northern Lights Cruise, Northern Lights Reflection in the Water, Tromso, Norway
Jonas Legernes
For the indigenous Sami people, the northern lights were something to be feared and respected. Traditionally, they believed that their ancestors lived in the northern lights and that the lights must be respected in order to show appropriate deference to their forefathers. Many saw the aurora borealis as a bad omen signifying trouble to come and found the lights intimidating. In fact, some Sami people chose to stay indoors while the northern lights were dancing across the sky because it was believed that if you were noticed by the lights, you may be carried up into the sky to join the souls of the dead or even have your head cut off.
Sami national suit - Norway
Ørjan Bertelsen / Www.Nordnorge.Com

Where is the best place to see the northern lights in Norway?

There are several great locations for seeing the northern lights in Norway. In fact, the stunning polar city of Tromsø is one of the best places to see the northern lights. There are many different ways to chase and experience the enchanting aurora borealis dancing across the sky. Why not make it an extra special occasion and join a northern lights dinner cruise? Seeing this incredible natural wonder from the unique vantage point of a boat as you glide along arctic waters enjoying a delicious three-course dinner is truly an experience to remember.
Northern Lights Photo Tour in Reine, Lofoten - Activities in Lofoten, Reine, Norway
Joanna Borgiel

Northern Lights Activities

Experience the spectacular Northern Lights on one of these exciting activities!

Life in the arctic

Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

Norway’s Arctic Climate

Norway’s Arctic is one of the most astounding places on the planet. From the vast untouched snowy landscape, to the breathtaking Aurora Borealis, to the unique wildlife, the Arctic is truly something incredible. Unfortunately, climate change is having a devastating impact on Arctic regions worldwide. If change doesn’t occur rapidly to repair the damage that has already been done, the results will be devastating for Arctic regions as well as the rest of the world.

Polar bears in Svalbard - Norway

Animals in the arctic

It should come as no surprise that the Arctic region is one of the toughest places on earth for wildlife to live. Humans have been able to adapt fairly well to living in this part of the world due to the ability to wear clothing and reside in heated structures throughout the majority of the winter. However, for the animals that are forced to stay outside and venture through the Norwegian fjords and other areas of the Arctic, the climate is much more inhospitable.

Mining community of Longyearbyen, Svalbard - Norway

The Arctic Circle

Sitting at Earth’s most northerly latitudes, you can think of the Arctic as the planet’s hat. The main focus of this area is, of course, the North Pole, however there is so much more to it than that. Surrounding the North Pole is the Arctic Circle which stretches out into different countries, forming a line around the top of the Earth. Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating part of the world.

Aurora Safari Tromsø - Northern lights tour from Tromsø, Norway

How to have the ultimate arctic adventure

When you book a trip to somewhere adventurous like the Arctic, you want to make sure that every second of the journey is packed with as much excitement as possible. But in order to do this, you need to know a variety of things about your destination such as where to sleep, what to do, and what to eat while you are there.