As everyone knows that the sun does not always shine in Scandinavian countries where in the winter, the days start to get shorter and the nights probably last for twenty hours per day. So, when the summer officially arrives, it gives Scandinavians a good reason to celebrate the longest days of sunshine during the midsummer period.
Typically taking place between the 20th to the 25th of June, the celebration of Midsummer is very popular among Scandinavia and each Scandinavian country has got their ways and customs to cherish this traditional celebration of the Summer solstice.
In Denmark, Midsummer celebration is called “Sankt Hans” or known in another word as St. John’s Eve which is the day the Danes will gather together, set the bonfire and sing their traditional song “Vi elsker vort land” which directly translates to “We love our country”.
Danish community in Thailand recently celebrated their ablaze “Sankt Hans” on Sunday, 9th June at Royal Danish Embassy in Bangkok. Hosted by the Danes Worldwide and Danish Women Network, the feast provided the guests with the lovely evening where Danish expat community in Bangkok had a chance to meet with friends and enjoy authentic Danish hot dogs prepared by Conrads deli, drinks and organic ice-cream before the bonfire was lit. The event was not only for the adults to catch up with their latest news but also for the children who had an amusing time, running around and playing football in Residence Garden amidst the cozy and warm atmosphere where the sun was about to set giving the sign the witch was about to get burned.
The welcoming speech was delivered by Deputy Head of Mission at Danish Embassy Anders Lønstrup Graugaard who welcomed all the guests and expressed gratitude to everyone who took part in organizing the celebration.
Followed by a speech by Christa Lund Herum, a Danish priest in Bangkok, she addressed about a brief background of “Sankt Hans” and the important reason for Danish people to celebrate this festival.
“What the Danes are celebrating today is a Christian Celebration which is specifically connected with Saint John’s Eve Celebration established in honor of the birth of the Saint John the Baptist,” she said.
Priest Herum also mentioned about why the bonfire is topped with a witch figure, “The Danes is the only nation who actually has the witch that we took it as a symbol of warding off the evil spirits,” she explained.
According to old folklore, Sankt Hans night is the night the witches fly away to Mount Brocken in Harz, Germany and in order to brush away those witches, Danes light a bonfire to keep the devil and darkness away.
Here came the outstanding part everyone awaited, the bonfire was lit at about 6 pm where the guests circled around, sang their traditional songs while watching the witch doll getting burned.