I’ve always had mixed feelings about Sankt Hans Aften. (I’ve written about it before Happy Sankt Hans!). What is it? A huge event on the Danish social calendar – the night where you go out and celebrate midsummer! 23 June – which this year is next Monday.
Bonfires are lit up and down the coast. Or, like here – last year – in our local park. Normally around 9.30pm or 10pm, when it’s still light.
Safety first! It’s also – selvfølgelig – a busy night for the Danish firefighters, who are always on hand! 🙂
But, hey, let’s backtrack a little! The evening usually starts with people gathering – perhaps with a picnic – down at the beach or in the forest. The evening officially starts with a short Sankt Hans Tale or “Bål Tale” (bonfire speech) by a local dignitary or ‘personality’. And then the singing can start. Sometimes with live music from an orchestra or band. And, if you’re very lucky, a songsheet, so you can join in the singalong! 🙂
You’ll be singing Midsommervisen. A.k.a. Vi elsker vort land. “We love our country.” Last year we also sang I Danmark er jeg født (“In Denmark I was born”) and Der er et yndigt land (“There is a lovely land”) which you might recognise as the Danish national anthem.
Want to practice? Here’s the Sankt Hans song, Midsommervise. In a classic version…
…and, here, a modern version by Shubidua.
So why the mixed feelings? Well, as the fire slowly dies out (here we are in Svendborg in 2012), it’s time to head home in the twilight. And try not to think that, from now on, the long, long, long days of summer will be getting short, short, shorter. Øv! 😉