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Each year, Old Man Winter drops his curtain of darkness over the Nordic countries, not lifting it again until April when spring bathes the region in sunlight and nature comes back to life.Even daytime brings only a slightly lighter shade of gray during the darkest weeks before the winter solstice in December, when skies are often overcast in the three capitals.Visitors leaving the center step outside looking a little dazed, rosy-cheeked as if waking from a long sleep yet invigorated and ready to face more of the dark winter.The Nordic passion for decorative white lights during Advent – the four Sundays leading up to Christmas – also helps most people charge their feel-good batteries.The festival of light honors an Italian martyr whose name is derived from "Lux," the Latin word for light, and who was meant to chase away the dark spirits on the longest night of the year under the Julian calendar.
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