Sankt Hans

Update: some photos of the fire.

Getting ready for the traditional Saint Hans  fire, evening  june 23. Burning a witch, singing the midsummer song and listen to a midsummer speech. This is how we are celebrating this evening today. Of course there is a story to tell about why. I will try to translate a bit here:

Perhaps you know, that witches are more active on eve of church festivals? They might be collecting herbs or be travelling to meetings with other witches. To prevent them from taking a break on their journey, (you know they are flying at a broomstick) a big fire would be lighted . Both april 30th, and at june 23th were magical evenings in the past. In Germany, the witches flew to the highest mountain, Bloksbjerg, to have their meeting on that night. Later on we forgot about april 30, but june 23 is still celebrated all over the country, and we are still preventing witches from taking a break at our area. I heard in the radio next morning, that smoke from all these fires still was in the air, because of the type of weather we had that day.

Some are believing, that the idea about placing a witch on top of the fire, must have reached Denmark by German immigrants, around 1920. Singing the midsummer song are believed to have a history from 1900.

10 comments so far

  1. Reggie on

    That sounds exciting, Birgitte. Please tell us more about this tradition, as I don’t know it. It has to do with Midsummer’s Night, right?

    • giiid on

      On the evening of june 23, big and small fires are made all over the country, to celebrate the evening before the day called Saint Hans, named after St. John the babtist. Before the fire are started, someone will make a speach about freedom, love, friendship and hope, – something optimistic. This person will light the fire, and everyone will then sing a midsummer song, starting with “We love our country, but at midsummer the most…”
      On the top of the fire, there are placed a witch, made out of hay and dressed with some woman clothes, and – very important- a witch hat. She is sitting on a stick, ready to fly to Bloksbjerg,- a place in Germany. I don´t think there are much wondering about why, when and where that night, the purpose with all this is to have a beautiful evening together and feel connected. Now, of course I can´t leave you with this burning witch, without an explanation! Perhaps others like to know about it too, so I have written it at the post. Please take a look there, and thank you for asking.

  2. Scott Thomas Photography on

    Oh, you going to get some photos of the fire?

    • giiid on

      You are right, of course there should be some photos of the fire. I have posted some from another year, as we didn´t wait for the fire this year. If I had been there, I would of course make experiments according to your recently advice. 🙂

  3. Gerry on

    You have to love a place that sings about loving one’s country “at midsummer the most”! I think everyone in northerly regions can relate to that. Kind of hard on the witch, though.

    • giiid on

      I agree on both. 🙂

  4. Nye on

    giiid, I love the photo of the fire, and the tradition is very fascinating. I see people are still wearing lightweight jackets, must be nice and cool there.

    • giiid on

      The last photos are from another year, but the clothes they wear are the same as now…except for some very hot days this week. We are use to have all kind of clothes ready, even in summer. And always rain clothes for the summer house vaccations…usually it doesn´t rain if we carry a lot of this. A good investment. 🙂

  5. dinesh on

    wow! I like the 3rd pic so beautiful, The green ground is awesome, wish to play football there. 🙂

    • giiid on

      🙂 Good idea with playing football there.
      I guess the green grass and trees we have here, are a compensation of the cold weather we have to deal with. (30C the last few days is extraordinary)

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