Kaamos (polar night or polar darkness), or more like half-kaamos can be horrible. In Lapland, there are days when you can’t see the sun at all. Here, a bit souther, our winter days only last for a few hours. I suppose the sun is up only for four hours here in Northern Ostrobothnia on Christmas week. Which is weird because on Midsummer week, there is practically no darkness here. What makes this half-kaamos worse is the lack of snow. There’s been snow, in late October and a week ago. Then it all went away and made everything so dark again.
And there are people wondering why we Finns are so happy during summers and not-so-happy during winters. Well, just come and live here for a year and you’ll have a clue. Alaska, Iceland, North Canada or North Russia is fine as well.
There are some people who aren’t affected by the lack of light at all. And there are people who are affected by the darkness quite a lot. I’m sort of in between.. But it depends. This year the lack of light has clearly decreased my amount of energy. And there isn’t a magic potion that makes you feel better. Err, ok, there is one but it doesn’t make you so happy the next morning :).
Light therapy is one of the best ways to do it (but I broke my bright light lamp when I moved to this apartment). I should get a new one, Father Christmas!
You’re probably starting to understand why Christmas is such an important phenomenon in Finland and the rest of the Nordic countries. It’s the feast of light. It’s also one of the darkest days of the year, so after Christmas, days get less and less dark. Until Midsummer comes again.
So, if you want to try something a bit more extreme than you are used to, why don’t you come to Finland in December. Or January. It won’t kill you or make you insane. It just makes you feel a bit… Finnish.
(This blog entry was _not_ paid by the Finnish Tourist Board…)
- Promise me, Dear Lapland. (ovsjournalists.wordpress.com)
- Cairngorms National Park are offering visitors a chance to meet Santa and his Reindeer in the Scottish Highlands as an alternative to Christmas in Lapland. (prweb.com)
- Walking in a winter wonderland in Lapland (mirror.co.uk)