More about the Northern Lights

On this page: Things you should know | Myths and Legends

See the northern lights

Choosing a Northern Lights Holiday | About the Aurora | Popular Holidays | Photo Tips

Mystery and wonder shroud the northern lights, otherwise known as the aurora borealis. Mesmerizing, stunning, other-worldly are just a few words used to describe the experience of watching this spectacular phenomenon. When conditions are favourable this fantastical display lights up the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, leaving all who catch a glimpse of this magical wonder, memories that will last forever.

Displays vary in intensity and duration, shape and form having no regulation, with each display totally unique. This natural phenomenon is hard to predict, yet extraordinary to witness!

Things you should know about the Northern Lights

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Myths and Legends

  • The name 'aurora borealis' is credited to Galileo and means 'northern dawn'.
  • Some Northern American Inuit call the aurora ‘aqsarniit’ (literally ‘football players’) because they believe that the lights are ancestral spirits kicking around the head of a walrus.
  • The old Norse explanation was that the strange, shimmering green lights were old maids dancing in the heavens.
  • Vikings believed the glowing lights were reflections from the shields of the Valkyries, maidens who transported fallen warriors to Valhalla.
  • Scandinavian fisherman called the sightings Herring Flash as they saw them as a sign of rich catches, believing them to be caused by light reflecting off vast shoals of lively herring.
  • Modern day myths exist too - the Japanese believe that babies conceived under the northern lights will become intellectuals.

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