23 June 2011

Sankthans - A Midsummer's Night Celebration

Can you imagine a night in which the coast is all lit with huge bonfires that can be seen from far out at sea? That is how tonight usually looks like! In Norway we celebrate summer solstice on June 23 - a magical night also known as Sankthans or Jonsok (John's wake). The tradition comes from pre-Christian folklore, but it, as well as many others, was adopted by the church in the 1st Century, when Christianity became the official state religion.

In Southern Norway, where I live, people gather together and celebrate around huge bonfires while others sail around in their boats anchoring on little islands and setting up their own bonfires, which complement the beacons along the coast. A sight never to be forgotten!
Photo: kanelstrand

The whole night is lively and festive, lit by the colors of a never-ending sunset and the flames along the coast. Traditionally, it is believed that this is a time when the normal laws that govern the world of brightness and the world of twilight are suspended, it is a time when trees speak, trolls and goblins run in the forests and the "little people" come out of hiding and goof around with mortals, playing pranks and stealing food...

I took the above photo 2 years ago, when the weather was magnificent, so wish me luck tonight as well, and if your wishes work, I will show you even more beauty from this year's celebration!


  1. sigh! I want to come visit :))
    Norway has been on my bucket list for years.
    This is the most fabulous picture

  2. Gorgeous photo! Hope you had a great time!

  3. I SO want to come see Norway, all the water makes it look like heaven!

  4. That's a really gorgeous photo. It sounds like so much fun and a really beautiful celebration.

  5. What a fun tradition! Your photo is incredible and I can only imagine how awe stuck I would be to actually see it in person! I would be on the lookout for the little people!

  6. Awesome!! And that picture is amazing. :)

  7. What a beautiful tradition! It sounds absolutely magical. Hope you get some good photos. :)

  8. That sounds like an absolutely beautiful night! I guess someday I'm going to need to visit Norway to celebrate the summer solstice. :)

  9. I like your blogs very much.
    It must be wonderful in Sommer with a long dayight and a short magical twilight. Enjoy the summer - the winter surely isn´t pleasant.!

  10. That photo is beautiful!

    Found you through 'Blogging Buddies' :)

    Come check out my blog at

  11. This is STUNNING. I need to come to Norway!


  12. You are all very welcome to Norway, just drop me a line in advance, so that I can meet you :)

    And, NinasSmile, the winter here is far from unpleasant - it is awesome!

    Here is an example.

  13. So beautiful!

    Ironically this,

    it is a time when trees speak, trolls and goblins run in the forests and the "little people" come out of hiding and goof around with mortals, playing pranks and stealing food...

    ...sound like my children on summer vacation! LOL

    Hope you had a wonderful time!

  14. Sounds like a magnificent celebration!! Must be such a gorgeous sight, all of those blinking bonfires. :) I'd be alert all night, eyes wide open, on the alert for any sneaky goblins... ;)

  15. This sounds like a fantastic celebration, I've been reading about it online for the first time (so glad for the internet!) I hope it was a wonderful time for you - your picture here was great.