How Norwegians welcome back spring with a tropical "fruit party"

The residents of Longyearbyen, Norway, the northernmost town in the world, suffer through four months of polar night. So when the sun finally rises in March, they celebrate by toasting the return of spring with…fruit.

Atlas Obscura details the glories of Solfestuka Fruktfest, the "Sun Week Fruit Fest," and the stiff competition and high prices for tropical goodies like mangosteens, guavas, and rambutans. For a limited time only, Svalbardbutikken, the local supermarket, stocks tropical taste treats, like mangosteens, which cost almost two dollars a piece. Small price to pay for solar-deprived citizens. 

It makes sense to celebrate the sun with tropical fruit because it's "reminiscent of sun and heat, which can be nice to think about sometimes up here in Svalbard," said Ida Antonsen, a Svalbardbutikken employee who is in charge of purchasing produce for Sun Week

Svalbard, the icy archipelago where Longyearbyen is located, is a visa-free work zone. So, the town of around 2500 boasts 50 different nationalities, many from Southeast Asia. But there is a bit of sticker shock for residents like Jonathan Oracion, a chef from the Philippines, who used to pay $3 for a whole kilogram of mangosteens.

 "Those things are all over the place in the Philippines. We used to whack each other in the head with them"

After so many days of night, it makes sense that when the sun comes out, the folks up north go a little bananas.

See also: Video of exotic fruits and the obsessives who hunt them