Sweden – a land of extreme light and darkness – and Ramadan

It’s at times like this that I long for the even days and nights in Africa. There is only an hour or two difference between sunrise and sunset times in midsummer and midwinter. There are also tides!

White nights drive me crazy. I just cannot sleep when it is light enough to read outside at midnight. It feels like you are being punished when you go to bed and the sun is beating down on you in your bed.

I have triple glazed windows with venetian blinds between the panes of glass, a regular curtain AND a blackout curtain on each window, I try to wear a sleep mask (though they make me sweat and annoy me) and I can STILL see the sun!

This is fairly dark as Sweden goes, because Stockholm is pretty far South. Within the Arctic Circle things are much worse (or better, depending on how you look at it)

It is even worse for Muslims in Sweden, particularly in the north, during Ramadan. Last year Ramadan was from the 18th June to 17th July, and Muslims have to fast between dawn and dusk. Which is pretty hard when there is no dawn or dusk. Last year Muslims in Iceland and Norway fasted for 22 hours a day during Ramadan.

Different Muslim communities have different ways of dealing with it. Some follow Mecca time when deciding times to fast. Others follow the dawn and dusk times for Southern Europe. Others follow the times there was last dawn and dusk where they live.

There is a movement at the moment to provide EU-wide rules for how Ramadan is observed in countries where it does not get dark.

The great picture was taken by Jael Xandry, exactly at midnight.
The great picture was taken by Jael Xandry, exactly at midnight in the middle of summer
This photo taken at exactly midday in the middle of winter by Isak From
This photo taken at exactly midday in the middle of winter by Isak From
10pm in May
11pm in  June – two weeks to midsummer
10am in November
11am in November – one month to midwinter

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

7 thoughts

  1. Wow these pictures are lovely. I’ve always wondered what it’s like in places where there are such extremes. I suppose it would be eerie for someone who’s just visiting.

  2. We don’t get such extremes here, other than in Scotland, but I always notice at this time of year that looking North, the sky is never fully dark – there’s always a little chink of light there 🙂

  3. What extremes! I love the pic of the caribou? crossing the road. I wonder if people native-born to the area have the same light/dark problems or if it affects everyone.

  4. So crazy! It’s something I’d love to experience, but I don’t think I could live like that! I would have trouble sleeping in the summer, and I wouldn’t want to do anything in the winter!

    1. That’s what happens to me! My worst is summer as it never gets dark and I just cannot sleep. The best time of year is when it starts to get dark again!

  5. Oh gosh, what extremes of light and dark. On the other hand in the tropics it’s sunset & sunrise at 6pm/6am every day of the year – I don’t think I’d like that either.

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