Since it’s the season to be celebrating wouldn’t it be fun to see how nature brings in the new year. So I went on a search for some of the most beautiful photos I could find that present how mother nature shows herself over the northern reaches of Russia. Did you know that Russian folklore associates the northern lights with the fire dragon (“Ognenniy Zmey”). The dragon came to women to seduce them when their husbands were gone.
1. Northern lights over a Nenets village in Northern Russia
To a person seeing the Aurora Borealis or “northern lights” for the first time, it is an uncanny awe-inspiring spectacle. Sometimes it begins as a glow of red on the northern horizon, ominously suggesting a great fire, gradually changing to a curtain of violet-white, or greenish-yellow light extending from east to west. Sometimes this may be transformed to appear as fold upon fold of luminous draperies that march majestically across the sky; sometimes as a vast multitude of gigantic flaming swords furiously slashing at the heavens; sometimes as a flowing crown with long undulating colored streamers fanning downward and outward.
2. Northern lights seen over Karelia
In Latvian folklore northern lights, especially if red and observed in winter, are believed to be fighting souls of dead warriors, an omen foretelling disaster (especially war or famine).
3. Northern lights over the Kola peninsula
The Sami people believed that a person should be careful and quiet when in the presence of the northern lights (called guovssahasat in Northern Sami). To mock the northern lights or singing about them was considered dangerous and could be reason for the lights to come down on a person and kill him/her.
4. Reindeer walking in the light of the Aurora Borealis
In some languages there is a name for the Northern Lights that literally translates as ‘north(ern) lights’, such as nordlys (Norwegian), norrsken (Swedish) and severnoe siyanie (Russian). But the most interesting names are those that tell us something about what different cultures think about the lights:
- Eskimo: aksarnirq (ball player)
- Finnish: revontulet (fox fire)
- Gaelic: na fir chlis (the dancing maidens)
- Greenland Eskimo: alugsukat (secret birth)
- Labrador Eskimo: selamiut (sky dwellers)
- Sami: guovssahasah (the sun glowing in the sky, in the morning or in the evening)
- Swedish: sillblixt (herring flash)
5. Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) over a
Dolgan reindeer herders camp
In Estonian they are called visualised, spirit beings of higher realms. In some legends they are given negative characters, in some positive ones.
6. Light show over Murmansk, Russia
“With the Aurora Borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of life, the articulate travail of existence. It was an old song, old as the breed itself–one of the first songs of the younger world in a day when songs were sad.
7. Lights over Russian skies
“The stars are putting on their glittering belts.They throw around their shoulders cloaks that flash Like a great shadow’s last embellishment”
8. The night sky over the village in Krasnoyarsk
What power disbands the Northern Lights
After their steely play?
The lonely watcher feels an awe
Of Nature’s sway,
As when appearing,
He marked their flashed uprearing
In the cold gloom–
retreating and advancing,
(Like dallying of doom),
Transitions and enhancing,
And bloody ray.
The phantom-host has faded quite,
Splendor and Terror gone
Portent or promise–and gives way
To pale, meek Dawn;
The coming, going,
Alike in wonder showing–
Alike the God,
Decreeing and commanding
The million blades that glowed,
The muster and disbanding–
Midnight and Morn.
9. Northern lights at White Sea in Louhi region of Karelia
There is a flower of climate rare,
That never bloomed for me,
I searched the wood, I searched the moor,
I robbed the emerald sea.
Alone upon an icy coast,
By Arctic’s hem it grows,
Its beauty is intoxicant
To those who brave the snows.
But when the Bear shines clear and high
I dream of Polar night.
Wherein this wondrous flower blooms
In sheaves of rainbow light.
Nellie Seelye Evans
10. Probably the most spectacular light show can be found in Murmansk, Russia
Here’s a great video about the Aurora Borealis over Russia