While the rest of the world is worried about SAD (seasonal affective disorder), in Kiruna we are welcoming the arrival of the polar night.
From tomorrow there will be no daylight for about a month, and we really don’t care. I know this sounds terrible. You’d have to experience it to understand that it’s a gift. I’ll try and explain.
Imagine all the frantic rushing around of the season – all the worrying and business, all the feelings of trying to squash too much into too short a day – instantly calmed by the simple expedient of simply switching off the light.
Desperately-trying-to-make-the-most-of-the-short-day experience replaced by no day at all. All routines gone, the markers of day and night blurred so it no longer matters much which is which. So what’s your hurry?
Like someone’s put a black bag over your head to calm you down.
Meanwhile on the streets the darkness brings out a wild celebration of all things bright and beautiful. Flashing fairy lights across balconies, tumbling lines of colour baubles strung over gardens, illuminated plastic reindeer in front yards, lights tied to twigs in pots on the streets, illuminated flagpoles, and of course, lit-up Christmas trees plonked at quirky careless angles in the snow – because in Kiruna we don’t keep our Christmas lighting hidden indoors.
In the period of polar night we’re hunkering down indoors, indulging ourselves, doing exactly as we please, maybe with sweet saffron buns and spicy glögg. It’s a very special time, and no-one’s the least bit SAD.