The Danish Women’s Network held a well visited traditional Danish Skt Hans evening on Saturday 15 June in the garden of the Danish Ambassador. Chairwoman Susanne Morch entertained in her speech about how difficult it had been to get permission to light up a live bonfire in the garden – but eventually, the Ambassador had agreed.
Photos by Disraporn Yatprom
The Skt Hans bonfire was a major attraction – the grown ups had fun lighting it up and the many kids had fun roasting marshmallows on a stick over it, a great fusion of Danish Skt Hans bonfire and North American campfire traditions. But first we of course had to sing the midsummer song “Vi elsker vort land…”
The cruelty of burning a witch puppet on the stake – originally a live person – was explained to the kids by Malene Lundsgaard. The presumably last burning of a witch on the stake in Denmark took place in 1693, we were told. But even today, more than 300 years later, we still put a puppet on the fire – there must be some secret appeal about the concept?
In her speech, Susanne Morch thanked all the individuals who had in each their different way contributed to the success of the event – and Carlsberg for sponsoring all the beer. She presented Mrs. Ratanawadee Hemniti Winther with a Royal Copenhagen gift for being kind enough to host the party on her terrace. Two smaller gifts for two staff at the embassy, who had likewise been very helpful, were likewise received by Mrs. Ratanawadee.
The participants had been told in advance that this was a sort of pot luck evening, but to their surprise found a complete summer party buffet with frikadeller, and hot dogs and kartoffelsalat and what have you not. Delicious surprise! It turned out, that the delicacies were cooked by the the Crystal Cafe recently opened by Anne Dorte and Henrik Tvilling in Crystal Design Center in Lad Prao.
The evening started quite early – at 17.00 while the daylight was still bright and the kids could still have fun in the garden although the lawn was a bit of a swamp from the daily rain the past week. In return, the party ended quite early – at 20.00 with a quick cleaning operation whereupon the terrace looked like no party had never taken place there. Well, almost.
All the participants clearly appreciated the efforts of the DWN in arranging this evening. Celebrating Skt Hans evening with a bonfire and a witch puppet is a tradition as dear to the Danes as the Midsummer Majstang is to the Swedes and the 17 May is to the Norwegians. It’s just not a proper summer without it.