The last sun day is when we watch the sun for the last time in the year go down over the horizon. It doesn’t come up again until the end of January (where we live). We try to spend this day out doors making the most of the sun as it begins to slip away. There is a feeling of peaceful sadness, a melancholy, where you take in the beauty and wonder of nature but long to see the sun return again.
This day is marked by a lot of Norwegians. I see more cameras out on this day; people taking their last photos of the sun. People stop before getting in their cars to watch the last sunset, they go to the water’s edge to say good-bye and come out of their offices to see the last bit of sun sink under the darkness.
On the last day of sun is Lysmarkeringen, a light ceremony. It was started in 2009 by a group of teachers in Umeå, Sweden and the celebration has spread through Scandinavia. Since children are the light of our lives, the idea came to make preschool children more visible in society.
To celebrate, small children gather together in the city centre carrying glass lanterns. This year in Alta the children set their lights down to create a path for pedestrians.
Even the smallest flame can light the way when joined together with others. The activity reminds us that children’s knowledge and creativity should be cherished as well as their desire to be seen and heard. Lysmakering is seen as a gift given by the small children to the city of Alta.
The children have prepared for this day by decorating their lanterns with stickers, paper mache, paint and glitter.
It is hoped that this celebration is spread all over the world to commemorate the wonderful lights our children shine.
After every light is set the children sing ‘We Light Our Lamps’. The children are then given reflectors for the darkness and a boller each as a thank you.
Norway doesn’t have a boller for this day, surprisingly. The return of the sun has one with the solboller (sun bun), maybe I should invent a dark chocolate boller to commemorate the dark season?