December afternoons in the city center of Oslo, Norway. The days around winter solstice have only a few hours of daylight and the longest nights of the year. Norwegians call this time of the year “mørketid”—“the time of darkness.”
In ancient times, the days surrounding the solstice were called “Yule” and worshipped for the coming reawakening of nature. The Norwegian translation of “Christmas” is “jul,” and many Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, originate from ancient Yule customs.
Norwegians no longer worship the reawakening of nature around winter solstice, but sadly, rather the opposite. As the world wrestles over what they should do to keep the planet from heating up to dangerous levels, Norway remains one of the biggest oil producers in the world and hesitates to curb the expansion of its (profitable) oil and gas production. Meanwhile, raging wildfires, once-in-100-years storms, and lethal heatwaves have become part of the everyday news. And throughout the once dark wintertime, cars, lights, and furnaces burn, casting a haunting glow…