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Sankt Hans 2015 in Copenhagen - see the straw witches burn

It is the Danish Midsummer's Eve. Watch curious traditions play out at events around Copenhagen this coming Tuesday 23 June with our updated selected 2015 venue suggestions

Sankt Hans Eve, the Danish answer to midsummer’s eve, is celebrated on the evening of 23 June with a host of bonfires. Traditionally, a straw figure of a witch is burned.

This traditional Danish celebration has adopted many interpretations. The Vikings had a midsummer gathering to ward off evil spirits, while Christians combined it with the celebration of John the Baptist (Jøhannes Døberen), also known as Sankt Hans.

In the medieval era, this midsummer period was known as a time when the wise men and doctors would gather their medicinal herbs for the year.

Witch burning

Many also believed that witches adopted the same practice of gathering ingredients for their potions, and would meet up afterwards in the Brocken mountain region in Germany.

On Sankt Hans, to scare off the witches, large fires were lit in public areas. It was only in the last century that the practice of burning an effigy of a witch began. Straw and hay figures dressed in old clothing are set ablaze into the night sky while everyone gathers, drinks beer, and sings songs to celebrate the midsummer’s night.

Bonfires are taking place city-wide, so there’s bound to be a celebration near you. Here are some of the best ones in 2015:

Enghaveparken

The Vesterbro park will host music, organic eats and a speech from The Red-Green Alliance’s spokesperson and Member of Parliament Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen.

Enghaveparken
2450 KBH V
Check out the Facebook event (in Danish).

Kildevældsparken

Former Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt will say some words at the festivities taking place in this beautiful park in Charlottenlund, north of Copenhagen.

Kildvældesparken
Charlottenlund 2100
Check out the Facebook event (in Danish).

Tivoli Gardens

The event begins at 20.00 at the lakes inside Tivoli Gardens, where a bonfire will be lit on the water while the Tivoli Orchestra plays the classic Sankt Hans tune ‘Midsommervisens’. This event is not free, however, as entrance to Tivoli is required.

Vesterbrogade 3
1630 København V
Check out the Tivoli website.

Blågårdsplads

This central square on Blågårdsgade in Nørrebro will hold a little celebration of it’s own, lighting a bonfire in the middle of the big square. Vistors can take to the nearby bars on the popular drinking street afterward.

Blågårds Plads 2,
2200 KBH N
Check out the Facebook event (in Danish).

Islands Brygge

If you celebrate on the harbour at Islands Brygge, outside the Culture House you’ll find barbeques, and a range of diverse music acts from jazz to rumba-swing.

Islands Brygge 18,
2300 Amagerbro
Check out the Facebook event (in Danish).

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