A unique Danish way of celebrating high school graduation
When I was doing my masters, we went on a summer exchange program to Copenhagen Business School (CBS) as a part of our MBA exchange program from Ryerson University.
One of the first things we noticed after moving to Copenhagen was that almost everyone rode bicycles. Since we were there to experience the Danish culture, we also rented bicycle for the entire period of our exchange program. We felt like locals as rode bicycles to CBS every day to attend our lectures.
During the month of June, we saw hundreds of young Danish students wearing white caps and celebrating something really special on the streets of Copenhagen. We got curious because it looked like a lot of fun. Before we could figure out what exactly they were celebrating, we saw a few more colourful open-back trucks filled with students dancing, screaming, waving and having the best time of their lives.
After asking some of our classmates who were from Denmark, we found out that it was a part of their high school graduation celebration. It turns out that the party truck stops at the houses of every student of the graduating class. Students bring food and drinks which is specially prepared by their parents. The celebration typically lasts for an entire day, but many students keep wearing their special graduation caps during their entire summer holidays.
We were lucky enough to be in Denmark in the third week of June. Apparently, June 23 is celebrated as Sankt Hans Eve which is a midsummer witch burning ritual that takes place in many Nordic countries. We were casually strolling around in one of the parks in Copenhagen and heard some people singing near a small pond. Out of curiosity we walked towards the pond and saw big crowds gathered around a witch doll made out of old clothes, straws and firecrackers.
After asking a few people about what exactly we were witnessing, we found out that it was a midsummer celebration of light overcoming darkness. The evening was filled with a lot of singing and dancing around a large bonfire.
Sankthans, or midsummer, marks the summer solstice and the longest days of the year. The previous deficit becomes a surplus which climaxes in June. The sun refuses to move, it insists on sleepless nights and flavorsome strawberries.
Photo by Jo Straube
0 383:39 PM Jul 31, 2018
At Hegli CSA, we gathered and celebrated sankthans together. With the pale summer sky as our backdrop, we cooked and ate what the farm had to offer. A pork roast, vegetables from the garden and bread made on the griddle.
Photo by Jo Straube
Dear friends, I'm working on a new, whimsical Danish clown character and Im curious about what’s your first impressions, just be very honest 😉 It's most useful to me. PM is absolutely cool. Who is she and where do you think I should air her? ... besides next year's Sankt Hans (Danish tradition where we have a cosy time building and burning/sending a witch to Bloksberg!). Here are some thoughts behind the project:
What does a midsummer witch do without her yearly bonfire? Sounds like the start of a joke (in Danish). But Sankt Hans without a witch on fire is really a feminist dream, a little depending on how we choose to interpret the story of the bonfire and witchcraft as a part of Danish history. There is no doubt that the approx. 1000 witch burnings that took place in the 17th century were terrible, but isn’t the tradition today a tribute to exaxtly those witches, mysticism and nature's power? With a party we send a naturewise and powerful woman on a well-deserved summer vacation to Bloksbjerg, or do we burn her in accordance to the pagan tradition in order to get rid of something we do not like? Here is to a future with the first interpretation: Come on baby light my four! 🔥💃(not the forrest 🌳💚) #
#clown#klovn#characterdevelopment#creativeprocess#clowning#clowningaround#midsummernightsdream#sankthans#sankthansaften#sankthansaften2018#sankthansbål#burningwitches#feminism#history#danishhistory#fire#hedensktradition#pagantraditions#comeonbabylightmyfire - Er dette mon skurken fra #ramasjangmysteriet ? #skurk#helgen
I totally fell in love with this church because of of the beauty and grandiose feeling of it. It is not clear whether the church, now known as Sankt Hans, was originally consecrated to St John the Evangelist or St John the Baptist. There are several references to Stege in the 13th century including a mention of the parish priest of Stegeborg (Stege Castle) in 1246 at a time when there was a close relationship between the castle (now demolished) and the church. Today the church is an example of a brick Gothic building but in the walls of the nave and tower there are traces of a Late Romanesque structure which was probably built by Jakob Sunesøn, a cousin of Bishop Absalon (the founder of the danish capital), who ruled Møn until his death in 1246. #stege#møn#kirke#church#sankthans#absalon#copenhagen#romanesque#sunesøn#ig_denmark#visitdenmark#architecture
Hvert år drager vi til Kalø Vig for at holde Sankt Hans. I går var der dog hverken bål, sang eller tale, fordi det hele var aflyst grundet afbrændingsforbudet, men der var godt humør, solskin, is og gåtur. Jeg gik og sang mit eget remix af du danske sommer, der godt nok består af den rigtige melodi, men blev kombineret ud fra de forskellige dele af versene jeg kunne huske. Hvert år siden jeg var barn har jeg et billede fra det samme træ ude ved ruinen. Jeg bliver generelt bedre og bedre til at klatre - og mindre bange for at falde ned og slå mig. Det er så sjovt at se tilbage på, for selvom det er den samme lokation, så har jeg bare haft det så forskelligt mentalt. For to år siden sad jeg der energiforladt og trist, sidste år sad jeg der med min studenterhue fuld af lykke igang med det, der skulle vise sig at blive mit bedste år i mit liv. I går sad jeg der igen med en yderligere positiv udvikling fra sidste år, med større selvtillid, styrke, glæde og nød den smukke udsigt. I sommerne 15 og 16 havde jeg det virkelig skidt, men det føles så ufatteligt lang tid siden, selvom det på papiret ikke er det helt store. Det viser bare for mig, at selvom man er et svært sted i sit liv, så er det muligt at få det til at vende og komme ud af det uden det behøver at ødelægge mere end højst nødvendigt. Tid er en spøjs ting, for de gode perioder flyver ofte hurtigst, når man er i dem modsat de dårlige, hvor tiden snegler afsted. Alligevel er det de gode tider vi husker klarest, når vi ser på vores liv i retrospekt!