Northern Lights Myths: The exciting stories about the mysterious glow in the night sky

Myths About the Northern Lights

When people saw the Northern Lights for the first time, they were fascinated by the impressive other-worldly glow, but at the same time feared the unknown flickering in the sky, which resembled a fire in its most beautiful and vivid reds. There were times when the emergence of the polar lights could not be scientifically explained, and humanity, with its own stories, sought to explain the origin of the Northern Lights themselves. Today, we know that this origin lies within the largest planet of the solar system – the sun.

Without solar activity, the natural phenomenon of the polar lights in our night sky would not be possible. Solar winds of various intensity provide the ideal conditions for the Northern Lights appearance, which are unique and occur in different manifestations. Individual colours, depending on the location from which they are observed, have evoked various myths. So each country has its own history and connection to the beautiful lights in the sky. More about the myths of the Northern Lights.

With all husky tours that we offer, you will have the best chances to see the Northern Lights. The following trips are specifically designed to observe the Northern Lights:

The Northern Lights in the Scandinavian Countries

Since the mystical lights were seen almost daily in the night sky, people in Scandinavia have built a positive but also very respectful bond with the Northern Lights. Many years ago, in Sweden and Norway there was a myth that the polar lights were a reflection of huge herring swarms in the seas. The connection between the Northern Lights and fish was maintained for a long time. Similarly, the natural phenomenon was also often compared to dancing women because of the gentle movements the lights made, almost as if they were dancing. In Lapland, holiday activities, such as dog sledding tours, will offer great opportunities of catching a glimpse at the magical glow of the Northern Lights yourself. To this day, the natives of Lapland (the Sami) treat the shimmering lights in the night sky with the utmost respect. Children are still taught to this day that they cannot yell or whistle underneath the lights, and some people still believe that you should not speak about this fascinating spectacle during the day.

The Myths About the Aurora Borealis in Central Europe

In antiquity, a vivid red light danced across Central Europe and was recorded in the skies above Italy. Due to its intense red colour and dancing movements, it was interpreted by the population as a fire. In fact, the light convinced people so much that the emperor sent fire extinguishers to save the city. When seen in Central Europe, the rare Aurora Borealis were often considered a bad omen, and usually a sign of war or a sign of anger from the gods. Today it is a great dream for many people to marvel at the Northern Lights during a Northern Lights trip at least once in their lifetime. The beautiful Aurora Borealis, now more understood but no less magical, are certainly no longer perceived as a threat or sign of impending misfortune. In the beginning of the 18th century, scientists explored the phenomenon around the northern and southern poles. Although they initially thought that they were reflections of sunlight or ice crystals, Edmond Halley recognized that there was a connection between the Northern Lights and the earth’s magnetic field. In 1867, the glow in the dark sky was explained for the first time.

Myths About the Aurora Borealis in North America

In the north of America, the Aurora Borealis were once associated with the spirits of deceased ancestors. As such, the dreamlike phenomena were often explained with the ancestors in the spirit world trying to make contact with the living on earth. Likewise, there was a myth among the Native American tribes that whispering attracted the Northern Lights so one could communicate with the ancestors. In Canada, the flickering lights in the sky were considered torches of the gods. As a sign of their presence and protection, the gods showed themselves with the help of their burning torches. The souls of the dead were accompanied by the gods to paradise.

The Northern Lights in Southeast Asia

The legends of the polar lights are quite different in Asia. In Southeast Asia, the Northern Lights are said to have magical powers, believed to be closely tied to fertility and fulfilling the wish of having children. Another popular myth about the Northern Lights in Asia is that if a child is conceived under the Northern Lights, it will be blessed with great beauty, superior intelligence, and bring happiness to those around them. The appearance of the polar lights in Asia is rare, and therefore is considered a very special blessing – one that can bring good fortune, happiness, luck, and fertility to those who witness it.

Northern Lights Appearance

Learn more about the formation, diversity and origin of the magical glow in the polar regions.

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Northern Lights Trips

Plan your trip to the far north and be enchanted by the Aurora borealis.

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Northern Lights Photography

Find tips for taking photographs and capturing the Northern Lights at their best.

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