In December, a polar night falls in Lapland and then lasts for almost two months. The sun is out, but it's not dark either. The sky becomes the main source of illumination as the Northern Lights blaze, a spectacle that invariably draws hundreds of enthusiastic spectators. This article is about this natural wonder and where to catch it.
Late autumn in the village of Levi (Lapland) is almost winter. The daylight hours are very short. The sun only rises reluctantly towards midday, barely peeking through the cloudy haze, and then disappears completely by four o'clock in the afternoon. The daytime dusk ends quickly, and night falls instantly.
You might think there's nothing to do in Levi in winter: it's dark and cold all the time. You could take the children from Levi to Rovaniemi for New Year's Eve, to visit Joelupukki or to get in the Christmas spirit in Santa Claus Village. But this is not the case. It is in winter that the fabulousness of Lapland Levi is more apparent than at any other time of year.
On the ground, this is aided by the snow that piles up everywhere in Lapland, spreading snow drifts as high as a man and covering houses up to the roof... And in the winter sky, you'll find the most brilliantly coloured stars and the aurora borealis! And it's for the northern lights that our guests and their families from all over the world come to Levi during this cold and dark time of year.
Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis in Levi, LaplandThe Northern Lights have been around for millions of years, but a scientific explanation is relatively recent. Not surprisingly, the phenomenon has become part of mythology. Every northern nation has its own myths and legends about Aurora Borealis and its own explanations of why the black winter sky suddenly brightens up with multi-coloured shimmering stripes.
Everyone dreams to see this fantastic show at least once in their life. Aurora Borealis is scientifically called Aurora Borealis and is explained quite prosaically: charged particles of the solar wind break through the magnetic field of the earth and collide with air molecules in the upper atmosphere, and this contact is accompanied by a glow.
Yellow, red and green colours appear because of the oxygen in the air, while nitrogen colours the glow in blue and violet hues. Particles move and so do the bright lights in the sky.
Foxtail or RevontuletRevontulet is an old Finnish name, meaning 'fox fire'. According to one legend, a fox ran across the tops of the hills, wagged its tail and blew snowy sparks into the sky. In Kalevala there is a story about Thor throwing lightning at Väinöinen, the hero of this Karelian-Finnish epos. In memory of the event the Northern Lights are lit up.
The Sámi language has several names for this natural phenomenon, one of which is: "the light that is heard". And judging by the fact that symbols of the aurora borealis were traditionally drawn on the shaman's tambourine, the Lapps held Aurora Borealis in high esteem.
According to Scandinavian mythology, the northern lights were believed to be the light reflected by the glittering armour of the Valkyries, warrior-girls who rode on winged steeds over the battlefield and took the fallen warriors in battle to Valhalla.
Northern Lights hunting season in Levi, FinlandSo, winter in Lapland, is the time of the northern lights. The hunting season for this natural wonder begins in mid-September and lasts until mid-March. The season peaks in December and January. Cold and dry nights, cloudless skies and total darkness provide optimal conditions for observation.
The northern lights are best observed in clear fields so that no extraneous lights interrupt the light from the sky. But only the hero of a Scandinavian epic can appreciate the beauty of the world around him in a clear field at night, and it's freezing at 30 degrees below zero. For our guests in Lapland we offer several sites specially equipped for seeing the northern lights. Of course, we provide everything you need to stay warm.
What are the main conditions to catch Aurora Borealis?Aurora Borealis is fastidious and capricious; there is no precise timetable for its appearance in the sky. But if you are keen to see this astonishing phenomenon, you must have patience and remember: Aurora Borealis likes frosty, dry nights.
The sky should be cloudless. If stars are visible, then the aurora borealis will also be visible. The optimal time for the northern lights to appear is two hours before midnight and two hours after, but it is also very tentative. It is therefore best to trust an experienced Aurora Borealis expert on this matter.
Northern Lights in Levi, LaplandLevi is a cosy and popular ski resort for families with children. The distance between Helsinki and Levi by road is 996 km, which is about 12 h 6 min by car. The distance between the city of Levi and Rovaniemi is 148.8 km or 1 h 41 min by car. Our local Northern Lights experts know where the most stunning views of this natural wonder are to be found.
Do you want to get there? Then take advantage of one of our unique tours by booking in advance. Find out more about the Northern Lights in our post: tips on how to photograph this natural wonder, how to prepare and much more.
To hunt for the Northern Lights in comfort and enjoy your holiday in the resort of Levi, contact the Scandinavian Travel Group manager. We'll arrange a unique tour in Levi of the Northern Lights for you and your family. Find out more about our amazing tours:
Are you travelling to Levi with your family?Ideas and family activities in Levi and Rovaniemi: check out more offers on our family programs:
- Snowmobile Safari
- Husky Kennel & Husky Safari
- Reindeer Safari
- Snow Village Lapland
- Santa Claus in a Secret Hideaway
- Santa’s Cabin in Levi
- Build Your Own Snow Igloo in Levi Igloo Park
Would you like a personalised tour? Then contact our manager directly using the contact details on the website.
This article contains photos used with permission from ©Fenix.info.