Skt. Hans Night - Midsummer's Eve Celebration

On the 23rd of June, the city of Randers will continue the popular tradition of celebrating St. John’s Eve, or Midsummer’s Eve (Sankt Hans aften in Danish) in downtown Randers, on the banks of the Gudenå.

Once again summer will be officially ‘kicked off’ by a Danish celebrity lighting the bonfire in Tronholm Park.

In prior years, the actors Søs Egelind, Ole Thestrup, Flemming Jensen and television personality Anders Lund Madsen have done the honors in Tronholm Park.

Main Speaker

This year, the main speech will be presented by Denmark's sharp-witted grandmother, the 67-year-old journalist, Karen Thisted. Whether it was as editorial director of Ekstra Bladet, or in her books, she didn’t hesitate to make her opinions known. She has noted that she would not consider staying quiet as long as there is something from the heart that needs to come out.

After her partnership with radio host Huxi Bach on the P3 program "The Loose Cannon," Karen Thisted was predicated as Denmark’s sharp-witted grandmother. A term that has since been reinforced by cooperation with Susanne Bjerrehuus where the two women, as grandmothers, debated and examined the prostitution environment in the TV show 'Grandma's Brothel'

Today Karen Thisted appears from time to time in various television panels, where the contributor's opinions come raw and unfiltered. Whether it is provocative or not, Karen Thisted doesn’t care as long as it is her honest opinion.

It is therefore also guaranteed to be both entertaining and thoughtful when Mrs. Thisted lights the bonfire on Midsummer’s Eve in Randers.

We hope to see you there!

History

Midsummer’s Eve has a long history going 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, while ensuring continued success in their endeavours. Now it has become 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.

The witch figurine that is often found in the bonfires are sometimes dressed with firecrackers attached, to make as much noise as possible, and scare the witches on their way to their meeting at Brocken in the Harz Mountains, and out of Denmark for another year.

Midsummer’s Eve, or Skt. Hans aften, is celebrated in several places in Randers on the evenings of the 23rd and the 24th. It is also widely celebrated throughout Denmark.

Midsummer Ballad

It is tradition that Midsummer Ballad is sung every year at the Sankt Hans eve celebration. It’s normally the first three verses of Midsummer Ballad that are sung by the attendees. The text is included below:

Midsummer Ballad – from There was a Time, by Holger Drachmann
Text: Holger Drachmann
Melody: P. E. Lange-Müller

Midsummer Ballad - Lyrics

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.