Thursday, 7 January 2010

Yakutia : Chyskhaan, The Lord of the Cold

Ded Moroz (Santa Claus) meets Chyskhaan, Lord of the Cold, in Russia's remote Yakutia.

In the culture of the Slavs the traditional character Ded Moroz plays a role similar to that of Santa Claus. The literal translation of the name would be Grandfather Frost.

Unlike Santa Claus, he walks with a long magical staff, does not say "Ho, ho, ho," and drives no reindeer but a troika. His roots are in pagan beliefs, but since the 19th century his attributes and legend have been "modernized" .

Chyskhaan, the Lord of the Cold, is a character from the folkore of Yakutia, a remote siberian region. The legend behind Chyskhaan:

" The Lord of Cold has the responsibility is to keep the cold confined to specific latitudes, to specific heights, and to specific land masses. He keeps the Arctic and the Antarctic pristine with cold and snow. At Yule, the longest night and shortest day, people in the north gathered at shrines built in his name, and offered gifts to him to take away the cold and to allow the sun to return. The gifts were left at the shrine. Chyskhaan would gather up the gifts and redistribute them to those that were in need, keeping for himself what he needed to honour the magic he would work over the next several months. His magic would chase away the night and bring forth the sun. At the same time, he controlled how quickly the ice and snow would melt in order to avoid flooding out the villages and people that depended on him. He also buried sacred places beneath the snow so that they would be undetected by those that would seek to use the knowledge for personal goals and for power. As the people in the world are becoming more enlightened, he is relaxing his hold on the cold to allow discovery of new information at the appropriate time. "

Yule was an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples, which was progressively absorbed into the Christian observations surrounding Christmas.

In J.K.Rowling's Novel "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", Hogwarts hosts a "YULE" ball.

Yule proper starts with the chiming of the church-bells in the afternoon of julaften ("Yule Eve") on December 24, the previous day when the tree is put up and decorated, is increasingly the actual start date for the 13 day long Yule celebration in Norway.

Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold

At 63°15′N 143°9′E, Oymyakon is the permanently inhabitated place on earth where the lowest temperature has been registered :

Everest min
- 41ºC
Oymyakon min
- 71,2 ºC!

The Pole of Cold International Tourist Festival takes place in Tomtor, Oymyakon. This is the region of Yakutia to be considered as the coldest place in Siberia and the northern hemisphere.

Pictures: WENN , Picasa

Monday, 4 January 2010

Nunataks in Greenland

Nunataks (ice-free summits ) in East Greenland.

A Nunatak is an exposed peak, not covered with ice or snow, in an ice field or glacier. Nunataks are reference points in glaciers or ice caps.
As the ice cap recedes, these rock formations are more frequently visible. They are more typical of the northeast coast.

Gunnbjørn Fjeld is a nunatak.

Gunnbjørn Fjeld, peaking at 3733 m, is Greenland's highest mountain: on the east coast, south of Ittoqqortoormiit (Scoresbysund) - a rocky peak protruding through glacial ice.
Location 68° 55′ N 29° 54′ W