When it comes to marking festivities and holidays, Danes know exactly how to do it the fun way.
This Saturday, June 23rd, the whole country will be celebrating Midsummer's Eve or Sankt Hans Aften (Saint John’s Eve).
It is a relic of pagan customs, where the shortest day, the winter solstice, and the longest day, the summer solstice, were celebrated.
Throughout history, the summer solstice has carried different meanings. It is believed that on this day the Vikings visited water wells and lit bonfires to ward off evil spirits. And in medieval times, curative herbs were gathered on this day for the rest of the year.
Today, however, the occasion is primarily celebrated for getting together and having lots of fun, and carries little or no religious significance.
In compliance with the Viking tradition, large bonfires are lit across the country at dusk as people gather to sing, drink and feast together.
Often a straw witch is affixed to the top of the fire, as legend says it is the night when the witches gather at Brocken – the highest peak of the Harz Mountains in Germany. The witch is therefore set on fire to help it fly to Brocken.
This blog collected details and inspiration from the danish news site www.cophpost.dk
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