St. Hans Aften (St. John's Eve)

St. Hans Aften (St. John's Eve)

This holiday is named after a bible character, but its roots dates from pagan times. St. John’s Eve is midsummer’s eve and is the brightest (and longest) day of the year, it’s the day when the sun “turns”.

The old, pagan tradition of gathering around bonfires on this night is now the only mark of this day. For a while, until 1770, it was a religious holiday, but today it’s all about the bonfires. Planks, rotten wood, leaves etc are gathered and set on fire. In addition there are often competitions for the children, lotteries and barbequeing. If it’s a very dry period, the fire departement of the town may prohibit these bonfires.

There are many superstitions connected with Eve of St. John. For instance, the bonfire was believed to give protection from evil spirits and to keep witches away.
Another superstition was that herbs and plants had magic powers on this night. Also, if a girl on this day picked 7 different kinds of flowers and put them under her pillow, she would dream about her future husband that night.
The St. Hans Bonfire
The St. Hans Bonfire
Children competing in a



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