Midsummer’s Eve Celebration

On June 23, Randers has a popular tradition of celebrating St. John’s Eve or Midsummer’s Eve at Tronholmen on the banks of the River Guden.

The Midsummer's eve celebration at Tronholmen usually takes place from 8 pm to 10 pm.

The event is "kicked off" by a Danish celebrity lighting the bonfire at Tronholmen. The celebrity will also act as main speaker during the celebration.

History

Midsummer’s Eve has a long history; it dates back to pagan times before being adopted by Christians to recognize St. John’s birth. In Denmark, the celebration arose around a belief that fire would drive evil spirits and trolls away, so that crops and harvesting would go well. It also became a chance for people to socialize and have some fun. Today, the Midsummer’s Eve celebration is both a celebration of St. John the Baptist’s birth and a remembrance of earlier times as well as still being a chance for people to get together, socialize, and have some fun around a roaring bonfire on a beautiful summer evening.

A witch doll is often found in the bonfires. The origin of this custom is a Danish folk belief that Saint John's Eve (sankthansaften in Danish) is also the night of a witches' meeting on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains in central Germany.

Midsummer Ballad

It is tradition that the Danish Midsummer Ballad (Midsommervisen - Vi elsker vort land) is sung at the Midsummer's Eve celebration. You can see the text below.

Midsommervisen – Vi elsker vort land
Text: Holger Drachmann
Melody: P. E. Lange-Müller

1.
Vi elsker vort land,
når den signede jul
tænder stjernen i træet med glans i hvert øje.
Når om våren hver fugl,
over mark, under strand,
lader stemmen til hilsende
triller sig bøje:
Vi synger din lov over vej,
over gade,
vi kranser dit navn,
når vor høst er i lade,
men den skønneste krans,
bli'r dog din Sankte Hans!
Den er bunden af sommerens hjerter,
så varme så glade.

2.
Vi elsker vort land,
og med sværdet i hånd
skal hver udenvælts fjende beredte os kende,
men mod ufredens ånd
under mark over strand,
vil vi bålet på fædrenes
gravhøje tænde
hver by har sin heks,
og hver sogn sine trolde.
Dem vil vi fra livet med glædesblus holde
vi vil fred her til lands
Sankte Hans, Sankte Hans!
Den kan vindes, hvor hjerterne
aldrig bli'r tvivlende kolde.

3.
Vi elsker vort land,
men ved midsommer mest,
når hver sky over marken velsignelsen sender,
når af blomster er flest,
og når kvæget i spand
giver rigeligst gave
til flittige hænder;
når ikke vi pløjer
og harver og tromler,
når koen sin middag
i kløveren gumler,
da går ungdom til dans
på dit bud Sankte Hans
ret som føllet og lammet, der frit
over engen sig tumler.