Last Sunday the Danes celebrated Sankt Hans and while we Dutchies have weird cultural habits (ergo: Sinterklaas), the Danes certainly know their part of cray-cray too. Sankt Hans is also often referred to as Midsummer and when I ask around what is being celebrated, I only managed to receive a “we burn a witch and we sing a song” as answer. Luckily we always have wikipedia to the rescue:
It is the day where the medieval wise men and women would gather special herbs that they needed for the rest of the year to cure people.The Danes often meet with family and friends to have dinner together. If the weather is good, they then proceed to a local bonfire venue. Here the bonfire with the witch on top is lit around 10 pm. Beforehand, a bonfire speech is often made, at large events normally by a well-known person. According to popular belief, St John’s Eve was charged with a special power where evil forces were also at work. People believed that the witches flew past on their broomsticks on their way to the Brocken. To keep the evil forces away, the bonfires were usually lit on high ground. Placing a witch – made of old clothes stuffed with hay – on the bonfire is a tradition which did not become common until the 20th century.
That definitely sounds crazier than our Sinterklaas with his Zwarte Piet, doesn’t it? Well anyway, it was a great excuse for the boyfriend and me to pop open a nice bottle of red wine and enjoy the city. And yes, I brought two glass glasses instead of plastic cups. I honestly think that wine just tastes better in a glass glass, the boyfriend thinks I’m crazy…
Nothing beats some fresh white Nike’s.
Nyhavn may be one of most crowded tourist spots, but can you blame them? It’s such a cute and pretty little street!
The Danes manage to add a song into every tradition, so of course there’s also a Sankt Hans song…
Here a “witch” is being burned, she even screamed a bit. It must have been so weird, back in those days when they really burned innocent women!
While I’m always a bit skeptical regarding Danish traditions (why-o-why is there always a song to sing?), I really liked Sankt Hans. It’s pretty much just a cosy night and a good excuse to take advantage of the longest day of the year!