Festivals and Events in Antarctica and the Polar Regions
Return of the Sun - Igloolik, Canada: Held in mid-January, this festival is full of Inuit symbolism and ritual and revolves around the lunar cycle and astronomical events that occur during this season. Inuit traditional dress is worn and centuries old games are played.
Polarjazz, Svalbard Islands: Warm up at this fun loving jazz festival held over two to four days in the Svalbard Islands. Al genres of jazz are covered including blues and bluegrass.
Nuuk Snow Festival, Greenland: Figurative and non-figurative sculptures are judged at this popular Nuuk snow sculpture festival, with artworks illuminated at night.
Arctic Circle Race, Greenland: A 100-mile long ski route is tested by competitors in this grueling three-day race held 40 miles north of the polar circle.
Nunavik’s Dogsled Race - Ivakkak, Canada: This 250 mile dogsled race takes place between Kangiqsujuaq and Akulivik and can last for up to 10 days.
World Ice Golf Championship – Uummannaq, Greenland: Held from mid- to late March annually, this challenging gold tournament takes place on a several meter thick nine-hole ice course.
Sunfest Week, Svalbard Islands: This week-long celebration sees locals welcome the sun’s return after months of almost complete darkness. Exhibitions, music concerts and challenging outdoor events take place.
Puvirnituq Snow Festival, Canada: This exciting snow-sculpture competition sees not only some outstanding artwork, but also traditional Inuit games enjoyed by all.
Arctic Palerfik – Ilulissat, Greenland: The last dogsled race of the year lasts three days and is a symbolic goodbye to the Arctic winter. With 16 hours of sunlight a day at the time of the race, participants should not forget their sunblock.
Midwinter’s Day, Antarctica: This day marks the middle of the winter in Antarctica, when no sunlight reaches this southerly point on the globe. Researchers based here at this time celebrate the solstice.
Midsummer’s Day, Arctic: Those living in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate the summer solstice, which marks the longest day of the year.
North Norway Festival, Norway: This art event in the land of the midnight sun sees a week-long program of cultural events held in Harstad, 186 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
Toonik Tyme - Iqaluit, Canada: Held for four days in mid-July, Toonik Tyme is a spring festival that has been observed since 1965. Cultural events at this time include Inuit activities such as Inuit games, igloo building, dog sled races and a seal skinning contest. Less traditional pastimes are also enjoyed such as snowmobile races and scavenger hunts.
Annual Fishing Derby - Kugluktuk, Canada: Held from early to mid-July, this event draws fishers from far and wide who come here to catch cod, char, trout and skulpin during the derby.
Kitikmeot Northern Games - Canada: This three to four-day event sees locals feast on northern specialties and partake in challenging competitions.
The Northwest Passage Marathon Races, Canada : The world’s most northerly marathon is held in August, during the period when the Arctic sun provides light 24-hours, against the backdrop of the Northwest Passage, a sea route. Three marathons take place: an ultra marathon, a regular marathon and a half marathon.
Dark Season Blues, Svalbard Islands: This lively blues festival last for two to four days and at cheers up the locals with blues music events and performances from international and local artists.
Christmas: is celebrated by many researchers spending the winter months on duty, with small festivities held at stations throughout the Polar Regions.