Many places in Greenland people are now looking forward to see the sun again. The winter darkness
with the moon, the stars and the northern lights as the only illumination will soon be over. In the Disko Bay area the sun will appear briefly above the horizon in the middle of January for the first time in weeks. In Uummannaq the sun returns in late January, while the winter darkness continues in the northern parts of Greenland.
The return of the sun is celebrated in every community. The inhabitants of the town or settlement gather on the top of a nearby hill to catch the first sunlight, perhaps several days before the sun rises so high on the sky that it's visible from the town.
North of the Polar Circle the public passenger and cargo ships ceased operations last month, and during January the sea usually freezes. The dog-sledge
now is the only mean of transportation - besides the helicopter - in large parts of Greenland. The thick sea ice, covered with snow, is perfect for dog-sledge rides.
The winter is strengthening now. January is one of the coldest months with temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius, though February and March are even colder. This month the average temperature in Ilulissat
in the Disko Bay area is -17,4 degrees Celsius (approx. 0 degrees Fahrenheit).
January 6 the Epiphany is celebrated. Shops, offices and factories close at noon. In the darkness children as well as adults walk from house to house, dressed in odd and horrible looking clothes. At each house they knock the door and remain silent when it's opened, waiting to be invited into the house. Inside the house the hosts start to sing for the ugly guests who in turn begin to dance. Finally the hosts offer small gifts like fruit or cakes to the guests. They take it and leave without a word - and head for the next house.