The people of Siglufjörður bid farewell to the sun for the next 74 days, but will celebrate its return with a special holiday.
The shortening of daylight in the winter months is a fact of life in Iceland. While those of us living in the capital area find it difficult to contend with just over four hours of light in the dead of winter, other locations – such as those in the north, surrounded by mountains, or in narrow fjords – will see little to no sunlight at all during this time.
One such town is the northern village of Siglufjörður. Located on the far north coast of Iceland and shielded by mountains to the south, the locals said goodbye to sunlight yesterday, and won’t be seeing it again until late January.
Sigurður Ægisson, a parish priest for the village, says that people in Siglufjörður have learned to greatly appreciate the sun, and miss it when it departs. However, they celebrate its return on Sun Day – which takes place around January 28 – with a gathering in the town square.
For those of our readers who struggle with Iceland’s darkening days, there is one effective way to cope: the Winter Solstice – which, this year, falls on December 22 – marks the darkest day of the year. From this point on, however, Iceland gets another six minutes of sunlight every day, as the Earth begins its slow tilt back towards the sun. This equates an extra hour of sunlight every ten days. Making a note of the growing light can make the dark days more bearable.