Witches and Midsummer on Thursday!

I spotted witches in the supermarket today…which is a sure sign that we are counting down to Sankt Hans Aften! 😉

witch

What is it? A huge event on the Danish social calendar – the night where you go out and celebrate St John’s Eve, probably better known as…midsummer! It falls on 23 June – which this year is Thursday.  The Danes gather around bonfires, often topped with effigies of witches – the idea being to send them off to North Germany. There are bonfires everywhere. All along the coast and beaches, in parks and forests and in town centres. Normally around 9.30pm or 10pm, when it’s still light.

sankthans4

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! 🙂

sankthans3

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.

sankthans5

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect, starting with the traditional version of Midsommervisen

https://youtu.be/ojqvlQQBPE8

…and here’s the modern version by Shubidua.

https://youtu.be/LHTdo1Q6eWU

Whichever version you prefer, sing up, take care and have a great night. And watch out for those low flying witches overhead…

witch1

Diane 🙂


Counting down… Bonfire night on Monday!

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! 😉

Diane 🙂

 


Happy Sankt Hans! Happy Midsummer!

* * This post appeared earlier today on www.denmark.dk – the official website of Denmark.

The direct link is

http://blogs.denmark.dk/diane/2011/06/22/sankt-hans/  * *

 

Tomorrow night the Danes – young and old – will be out in force celebrating Sankt Hans Aften(Saint John’s Evening).

It’s a celebration of the summer solstice and falls on the evening of the 23rd of June. The Danes gather around bonfires, often topped with effigies of witches – the idea being to send them off to North Germany, ha! There are bonfires everywhere. All along the coast and beaches, in parks and forests and in town centres. Some bring a picnic dinner to share, there’s usually a båltale (bonfire speech) by a local dignitary or VIP and, at around 10pm when it’s just beginning to get dark, the bonfire is set alight and that’s your cue to start singing a midsommervise (midsummer hymn) called Vi elsker vort land (We love our country).

Two years ago the kids and I went down to celebrate Sankt Hans at the canal in Hellerup. A gospel choir entertained hundreds of spectators with a short concert and at 9pm the bonfire – out on a pallet on the water – was set ablaze. We sat on the quayside, equipped with (very large) icecreams, while others enjoyed dinner on their boats and yachts (anyone want to invite me this year? Please?) and a good time was had by all…

Let’s cross our fingers that the Danish weather gods will be on our side again tomorrow night…

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂


Those Crazy Danes – Happy Midsummer!

Another month, another quaint Danish tradition! 😉 Tonight we’re celebrating Sankt Hans Aften, which translates literally as Saint John’s Evening. In practice it’s a celebration of the summer solstice and falls on the evening of the 23rd of June. The Danes gather around bonfires (some topped with effigies of witches – the idea is to send them off to Germany, tee hee!) all along the coast and beaches, in parks and forests and in town centres. Some bring a picnic dinner to share, there’s usually a speech by a local dignitary or VIP and, at 9 or 10pm, the bonfire is set alight and that’s your cue to start singing a midsommervise (midsummer hymn) called Vi elsker vort land (We love our country).

Last year the kids and I went down to the canal in Hellerup. A gospel choir entertained hundreds of spectators with a short concert and at 9pm the bonfire – out on a pallet on the water – was set ablaze. We sat on the quayside, equipped with icecreams, while others enjoyed dinner on their boats and yachts (on my wish list for next year!) and a good time was had by all…

Have a wonderful midsummer Wednesday! 🙂