As you may know by now, we Danes love to celebrate. Right through the year we have many reasons to celebrate; Summer solstice is beautiful tradition that we all look forward too. It marks the beginning of true summer, the school term coming to an end and the beginning of the summer holiday season.
The winters in Scandinavia are long and dark, often grey, damp and sometime biting cold and snowy. The days are short, with sun rising late and setting already around 3.30pm, that is why creating cozyness – hygge indoors with warm fires, candles is so important. The Danes and fellow Scandinavian have a real appreciation for lengthening days, from winter solstice onwards, the light begins to return with 2 minutes pr day is a sign of hope of lighter, brighter and sunnier days culminating in often the most beautiful summer days, a big blue sky and plenty of sunshine to enjoy.
In Denmark summer solstice - Sankt Hans Aften is always celebrated on the 23rd of June every year, it originates in Pagan celebrations, which the Christian church later adopted to celebrate the birth of John The Baptist (in Danish Sankt – Saint Hans). However, now a days it is a great excuse to gather with friends, family, locals alike to watch a large bonfire set alight, sing the Danish national anthem and in true pagan style – Send off a straw witch to Blocksberg in Germany.
If you travel in Denmark on the 23rd of June, you will notice that there are fires built in all major parks, by lakes, rivers and on the seafront. The evening is often started off by enjoying a lovely dinner amongst friends and family, then walking together to the fire, enjoying beer, singing and uniting in celebration in true Danish hygge style.
I am sure that all these celebrations, spending time together is a big part of what makes Denmark one of the happiest places in the world to live.
We will be celebrating Sankt Hans Aften – Summer Solstice on the 23rd of June, with a gathering of friends, feasting together, building a large bonfire in the field and trying to stay awake into the early hours.