Sankthans

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Witch burning for Sankt Hans - Denmark - 2013

In Denmark, the solstitial celebration is called sankthans orsankthansaften (“St. John’s Eve”). It was an official holiday until 1770, and in accordance with the Danish tradition of celebrating a holiday on the evening before the actual day, it takes place on the evening of 23 June. It is the day where the medieval wise men and women (the doctors of that time) would gather special herbs that they needed for the rest of the year to cure people.

It has been celebrated since the times of the Vikings by visiting healing water wells and making a large bonfire to ward away evil spirits. Today the water well tradition is gone. Bonfires on the beach, speeches, picnics and songs are traditional, although bonfires are built in many other places where beaches may not be close by (i.e. on the shores of lakes and other waterways, parks, etc.) In the 1920s a tradition of putting a witch made of straw and cloth (probably made by the elder women of the family) on the bonfire emerged as a remembrance of the church's witch burnings from 1540 to 1693. This burning sends the “witch” away to Bloksbjerg, the Brocken mountain in the Harz region of Germany where the great witch gathering was thought to be held on this day. Some Danes regard the relatively new symbolic witch burning as inappropriate.[10][11]

In 1885 Holger Drachmann wrote a midsommervise (Midsummer hymn) called“Vi elsker vort land…”(“We Love Our Country”) with a melody composed by P.E. Lange-Müller that is sung at every bonfire on this evening.

Sankt hans is approaching!

What is sankt hans? Well, it’s also known as sankthansaften or St. John’s Eve, but most Norwegians recognize it as the summer solstice! This article by the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C. has more insights into how Norwegians celebrate the holiday:

St. Hansaften is the ultimate summer feast in Norway. On the evening of June 23, Norwegians light bonfires, pick flowers to put under their pillows, and celebrate summer and light. 

The St. Hans celebrations have roots across northern Europe, and were also brought to Canada with the first French colonialists. In Canada, the celebration is called Saint-Jean-Baptist Day or Quebec National Holiday. The celebrations take on somewhat different forms in the different countries, but the origins are much the same. St. Hans is a Christian holiday to honor Saint John the Baptist (also called Saint Hans). The day of celebration was set to June 24 to outdo the pagan celebrations of midsummer or summer solstice. However, it is the celebration of summer, sun, and light that has survived in countries such as Norway. In Norway, celebrations take place the evening before June 24. Aften, as in St. Hansaften, means evening.

Read more.

“Burn police not witches. No to Patriarchy.

United rebellion (A)”

June 23 is Saint Hans day in Denmark, which is celebrated across the country every year by burning bonfires with a witch effigy on top. As context, the Danish kingdom burned alive thousands of women accused of ‘witchcraft’ during the 17th century.

The poster above is a subverted ad for a witch bonfire event organised by Denmark’s ‘far-left’ party, the ‘Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten)’.
The cop in the fire is an official mascot for the Danish police.

Celebrating “Sankt Hans Aften” this evening with the Danes. A good ol’ fashioned 16th century tradition in Denmark that includes lots of food, drinks, and witches burning at the stake!
#sankthans #sorryhermione:( (at Amagerstrandpark)

Green Feathers @feathertripe #green #illustration #bolette #doodle #feather #draw #summer #painting #artist #bird #create #copenhagen #egyptian #illustrator #aquarelle #nature #minimal #magic #eagel #water #sankthans #art #inspiration #animals #flying #beauty #doodles #fire #imagination

Midsummer in Ålesund (click to view more)

So this was back in 2010 at an annual festival in Ålesund, Norway. The occasion is Sankthans or ‘Midsummer’ and partakes on June 24th in Scandinavian countries and other parts of Europe. In Ålesund, they call this 132.7 ft.“bonfire" Slinningsbålet.

Here are some magnificent pictures about this spectacular event:
(click on the picture to see how it was built and burned!)

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