Sunday, 24 June 2007

Solstice

Yesterday was the day we danes celebrates solstice - that is, if we celebrate it at all. We do not have as extensive traditions as our swedish brothers and sisters, who revels in herring and schnapps when celebrating; our celebration is usually a modest bonfire and an excuse to sing some of the danish old-timers. And according to lore, the witch on the bonfire will fly to Bloksbjerg, and take all evil with her. Our solstice is also called Saint Hans, our rendition of John the Baptiser. So there is a merry mix of heathen and christian lore here, but it all sums up to a wish of eradicating evil. And as with most of those traditional things, it apparently doesn't matter if it is done in a promotion of violence. Aehm?

But the rain was pouring down, and it really looked that this would be one of those solstice celebrations that drowned in the rain. Alas, at 6 pm it suddently stopped raining, and there was a promise of a dry evening.

The bonfire closest to our place is one in Frederiksberg Have. It is a rather large thing with entertainment for kids and adults, but as we didn't get there before 8pm, we unfortunately (no, not really) missed most of the opera highlights and brassband tunes, both usually sent out through amplifiers of a questionable quality.

Federiksberg Have (Garden of Frederiksberg) is a lovely oasis in the city. And on our way to the bonfire we passed some of my favorites. The tree, where kids hang up their pacifiers when they need them no more



and the Heron-man



who has tamed some of the wild herons to come eat from his hand, though all zoologists says that this cannot be done. (The Zoo is just beside Frederiksberg Have, and the many herons that were supposed to be in the Zoo have long time ago chosen to live in the garden instead - thankfully, the same has not been possible for the lions or the tigers).

The bonfire itself is always situated in the lake, at the foot of Frederiksberg Slot (castle), with the entertainers placed in between



As it had been a very wet day, not many people were attending before the final moments. But the witch was sitting there awaiting, at the top of the bonfire in the middle of the lake



A boat was roving out, to get her going, but as everything was soaking wet, they took some time



Finally they got the fire going, and flames were licking up her behind. After a while the fire took over, and soon she was nowhere to be seen. She had flown on to Bloksbjerg on her broom.



As Bloksbjerg is in fact Brocken, the highest mountain in Harzen, Germany, I suppose she celebrates the rest of the night at a safe distance.

(Well, nice little country we have here: If we think we see evil, we just burn it! In modern days, mostly figuratively speaking, though. But nevertheless not really an open approach to diversity...I'll get off the soap-box now ;-))

After we had seen the witch off, it was time to go home. A day of playing handball, horse riding and watching bonfire can be a handfull when you're 7, but at 10pm this girlie still looked ready for trouble, with the umbrella-sword an all:



Oh, you wanted to see some knitting? Got a teeny progress pic for you



I know, too little knitting has been going on lately! But I still love this yarn from Garnharvan, so I am sure this WIP will in fact get finished!

3 comments:

Jenny said...

Lovely to see some parts of Denmark, and read some of its lore. I like the pacifier-tree! We have a special tree in Scotland, where you hang something personal like a handkerchief and ask for (usually) fertility. It's been the custom for over 700 years.

vanessa said...

love the pacifier tree!

Laurel said...

It looks like fun! I'd even put up with opera and a brass band for that nicely organized a solstice celebration. :-)