Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Its Time for Auroras Again.

Aurora, Northern Lights, Borealis, Night  October is when we start seeing the Aurora Borealis here in Alaska.  You wander out around midnight or one, look up to see beautiful green or pink slights dancing across the sky. Sometimes, they swirl but most of the time they dance.

In the bush of Alaska, I've heard people say that the aurora will dance if you whistle.  I don't know if the belief is true only because I've always seen it dance.

The Sami people up in Northern Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia believe the northern lights are the souls of those who have passed on.  They are respectful of the lights whenever they see them.  They have a variation on the local belief of whistling.  They believe if you whistle, you bring the souls closer and closer until you are taken away.

Another belief in Scandinavia in regard to the northern lights is the dancing green lights represent huge schools of herring swimming by in the sea.  When fishermen saw the lights, they felt they would have good catches when they fished. 

In Sweden, lots of displays of the aurora predicted good yields of crops the following year while the Norwegians thought the lights were the spirits of old maids dancing across the sky and waving at the watchers.  On the other hand the Finnish believed that magical arctic foxes used their tails to spew snow up to the sky.  The Finnish word for the Aurora translates as "fox fires."

If you check out the legends in Asia, you'll discover the Chinese believed the lights were caused by dragons spewing fire at each other while they fought in the sky.  On the other hand, both the Chinese and Japanese believe a child conceived under the northern lights will be blessed all their lives.

This last may explain why so many Japanese fly to Fairbanks, Alaska to go to Chena Hot Springs to view the aurora in the winter and spring.  Its a popular destination.

The Scottish are reputed to believe the lights represent the clans fighting and spilling blood due to the reddish lights seen there.  In other places like France and Italy, the appearance of the northern lights signal war, plague, or other bad occurrence.

I never think about the legends when I see the lights.  I just stop and stare at their beauty and hope they last a good amount of time before fading into the night sky.

Have a great day.

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