Monday, December 31, 2018

This is (probably) my last story for 2018.
In 1984 we moved to Tromso, Norway, which is about 220 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Being that far north means 24 hours of sunlight- the Midnight Sun- and 24 hours of dark in the winter Morke Tid- "Dark Time" It's is difficult for the newcomer to adjust to the short days of winter. The days get shorter and shorter until the sun sets and is below the horizon for two full months. At the end of my writing I will share a few pictures.
In the dark time, there is usually snow and that really brightens everything up. The lights in the houses make a cozy glow against the snow.
The winter of 1984 was an exception. There had been snow of course, starting in late September. But it would melt away and more would fall. In 1984 there was so little snow on the ground it was referred to as a "black Christmas". The New Year's Eve tradition in Tromso is to light big oil barrels "spelling" out the new year date, and people shoot fireworks from their homes. The oil barrels were to spell "1985". With the lack of snow it was considered too dangerous to light the barrels due to a risk of causing a big forest fire.
Everyone was disappointed at the possibility of not having a traditional New Years celebration.
Then, on the afternoon of December 31, 1984, it started to snow. The barrels were lit and 1985 was ushered in with cheers and fireworks!
the pictures are, the sun setting at 2:00 in the afternoon, in November. A summer picture of the mountain where the oil barrels are lit up, the oil barrels spelling out "1985" and the sunrise in January 1985. The sun was only over the horizon for less than 5 minutes that day. If you click the fireworks picture and make it bigger you should be able to make out the numbers

The sun setting at 2 in the afternoon, November in Tromso

View of the mountain where the fire was set bringing in the New Year

Oil barrels on the mountain, Tromso New Year 1985

Sunrise for a few minutes.  January 1985, Tromso

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