Each year, millions of people make their move to some countries far up to the North like Finland, Sweden, Norway or Iceland, with a wish to reach their dream: watching the magical Northern Light dancing over the starry sky. People can’t help but praise the mystical beauty of the dancing light each time it flies off into the sky. And everyone has the same question, what are the Northern Lights and where is the best place to see them. Thanks to the advanced science, now we know, Northern Lights are the result of collisions between charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen, happening in the Earth’s atmosphere. Since the phenomenon happens near the magnetic poles, the closer you get to the place, the more chance you have to see them. That’s why Northern Europe and America are the best destinations for Northern Light’s chasers.
According to science, now we all know that Northern Light is just a natural phenomenon. However, it is undeniable that every time we look up to the green light dancing around the sky, each of us can’t stop thinking about something very mystical that only seen in fairy tales, just like what ancient people did in the past. Without the help of science, here are what our ancestors in different countries had thought about the Northern Lights:
1.Japan: Japanese people believe that a child conceived under the Northern Lights will receive good-looking, charming, intelligence and great fortune.
2. China: Ancient Chinese believed that the aurora was the result of the celestial war between the “good” and “bad” forces- embodied as two dragons. They breathed fire across the sky and created the Northern Light.
3. Australia: Australians explained the Northern Lights in a very simple way- the gods were happy and they were dancing.
4. Ancient Greece and Rome: Northern Lights or can be known under another name- Aurora Borealis. Aurora is a Roman word, which came from Greco-Roman mythology. Aurora is the goddess of the dawn, the sister of Helios, the sun god, and Selene, the moon goddess. The Northern Lights appeared to the ancient Greeks and Romans as proof that their gods were still with them.
5. Estonian: There are some interesting folks about Northern Lights from ancient Estonians. The most popular one is that Northern Lights are born when the horse-drawn sleighs and carriages carried the gods across the sky to the celestial wedding. It is a sign of a happy divine wedding.
Another story we can hear from Estonians is that the humpback whale created the Northern Lights when they were playing and their scales reflected on the sky.
6. Finland: Known as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Northern Europe, Finnish people have a lot of folks about the dancing light. In Lapland, the ethnic group Saami people believed that Northern Lights are the giant fire-fox’s tail dragging across the sky. Northern Lights in Finnish is “revontulet”, which means fox’s fires.
7. Other Scandinavian countries: Northern Lights, to other Scandinavians, are the warmth and light from a great volcano in the north, sent by the gods to help human. To ancient Swedish, Aurora was a sign of a good harvest to come since it was the reflections of large shoals of fish.
8. Central European and the UK
Different from the Northern Europeans, who saw the Northern Lights as a good sign, in central European and the UK, people saw the lights as a bad omen such as war or plague.
9. North America: Ancient North American has a lot of different beliefs about the Northern Lights. The Unuit tribe believed that the lights are the human spirits, playing a football game using a walrus skill for a ball. Meanwhile, the Mandan of the Dakotas thought the lights from the heavenly warriors cooking over a fire.
In Canada, the Cree said the lights were a signal from their departed loved one communicating with them and the Algonquin said Aurora was their creator Nanahbozho was watching over them from the sky. The Northern Lights were believed to be the souls of the departed or the divine animals such as wolves or bears. And “be careful when you whistle”- some native Northern Americans said. Some bad spirits could come down and kidnap you. Clap your hand to banish them!
So, what did you hear about the Northern Lights before? Do you want to write your own story about it? We provide the Northern Lights tours every night from October. Visit us here for more options!