Actually, us northerners have more seasons than the four we usually refer to. The climate is more tactfully than that, and it can really be experienced here in the area of the localities of Sápmi, Västerbotten, which is a geographical region located in the traditional Sami settlement area. For the Sami, the country’s indigenous that make a living reindeer herding, the seasons have great significance and are according to their old culture divided into eight periods which are based on reindeer herding.
Climate-wise, our seasons can be described as follows:
Gidádálvve – Spring Winter (March-April)
In March-April the light will return after months of winter. To feel the heat of the sun heat a little and listen to the melting snow dripping from roofs and the song of birds makes it feel like stepping out of a hibernating den. According to many, this is the best time of the year – when you can take long snowmobile tours on the ice, in the woods or in the mountains. Make ski excursions with open jacket or build yourself a couch of snow, roll out the reindeer skin, light a bonfire and grill sausages.
Gidá – Spring (April-May)
The ice releases its grip and the water begins to visibly flow again. The snow melts in the mountains and increases the water masses. The leaves begin to burst and the early spring flowers sprout. Snowmobiling and skiing can still be excellent.
Gidágiesse – Spring Summer June)
Our nights are still brighter and it starts green for real. Sometimes it looks like someone has drawn up the contrast of green in nature as it explodes from growing power. The reindeer can still graze in peace and quiet, free from heat, mosquitoes and other insects. It is a period of recovery from winter. This is also a time when the best mountain fishing occur. Fresh Arctic char and trout tastes heavenly after the long winter.
Giesse – Summer (June – July)
The nights are at their brightest and we are bathe in lakes and seas. Calm and hopefully heat is present, but for Sámi it is a busy period. The reindeer have walked upwards towards the high mountain to escape insects and seek coolness and it is time for calf branding. It is usually done during the light nights when it is cooler.
Tjaktjagiesse – Autumn Summer August)
Berries and mushrooms now ripen in the forests and we fill larders and freezers with natural resources for the winter. Now the evenings and nights are darker and nature shifts colour on the mountain.
Tjaktja – Autumn (September-October)
It is busy time for fishing and hunting in our nature. The sun is high in the sky and the days can still be warm and comfortable, even if the air feels clear. The views are breathtakingly beautiful with trees that sparkles in yellow, orange and red before the autumn storms make them bare. Mushrooms and berries are picked in the forest. For many, the long-awaited moose hunting season starts in early September where many embark into our forests.
Tjaktjadálvve – Autumn Winter (November-December)
The days feel short when the sun goes down at 15.00 in the afternoon. It rains often but it may happen that snow comes, sometimes to stay, and makes the dark season a little brighter. Many ski lovers are eagerly waiting for the tracks and slopes to open.
Dálvve – Winter (December-March)
Winter is the longest of our eight seasons. The cold takes its grip on nature and freezes the landscape. Blizzards come our way and cover the ground with fresh snow, but despite the weather we spend time outside to take part of the unique environment we live in. With the help of warm clothes and shoes, we stay warm when we engage in skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. It is now that we have the greatest chance to see the beautiful Northern lights, but a starry night with a blue sky is quite magical to experience as well.