Norse mythology claims that the Northern Lights are the flashes of light emanating from the armor of the ancient valkyrie warriors.
Asians associate the dancing colors of light with fertility, and many Japanese believe a child conceived under the aurora will be lucky. Native Samis feel the lights have a special quality to help solve disagreements. While the Northern Lights are a scientific phenomenon caused by particles from the sun and space colliding with gases in the earth’s atmosphere, they have captured the imagination of locals and travelers for centuries.
Innovation Norway – a governmental group promoting Norwegian industry and tourism – is inviting foreign guests to experience the Northern Lights through new packages and an interesting little interactive online marketing campaign.
The Northern Lights generally occur within a 1,550 mile radius of the magnetic north pole. The coasts of the Norwegian counties of Nordland, Troms and Finnmark lay where occurrence is greatest, making northern Norway a prime destination for viewing the colorful bands of light in the night sky, particularly in the months of February and March. So Thor says, “Get on it!” A number of partner tour operators, both Norwegian and domestic, are offering Northern Lights travel itineraries and we think there’s no better way to be one with earth and heavens than to experience the Northern Lights at least once in your life.
Hurtigruten’s Discover the Northern Lights package includes a Norwegian Coastal Voyage aboard a Hurtigruten cruise ship. Packages start at $1,205 per person.
Borton Overseas’ Arctic Adventure package includes accommodations at the Snow Hotel and a King Crab Safari. Packages start at $2,986 per person.
Nordique Tours by Picasso Travel’s In Search of the Northern Lights package includes evening activities that keep you outdoors for when the Aurora Borealis light up. Packages start at $1,249 per person.
In addition to the travel packages (including packages to the Western Fjords here), Innovation Norway introduces a microsite – on which Americans can “paint the sky” using their computer mouse to create an Aurora Borealis. Participants can share their personal light show via Twitter, Facebook or email. The site also offers tips for how and where to see the Northern Lights in Norway and other activities to enjoy on a vacation there.
Facts about the Northern Lights
In 1621, French astronomer Pierre Gassendi first called the phenomenon “Aurora Borealis” after the Roman goddess of dawn (Aurora) and the Greek name for the north wind (Boreas). Cree (Native Americans) called the Northern Lights the “Dance of the Spirits.” For centuries, there have been reports that people can “hear” the Aurora Borealis – but there is no scientific proof. One theory is that the sound is created in the observer’s head because of a leakage in the electrical impulses from the nerves in the eye into the part of the brain that processes sound. Some early explorers tested this theory and found that the sound went away if their eyes were covered.
For Aurora forecasts for Norway (click here)
For Norway specific information and other regional and package ideas, check out Visit Norway. It’s one of the most organized (no surprise there) country-specific Tourism websites. (click here)