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!