Red Deer Danish Canadian Club

Proud Member of the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada


St. Hans Fest

In Denmark, the celebration of the summer solstice is called Sankt Hans aften ("St. John's Eve"). It was an official holiday until 1770, and in accordance with the Danish tradition of celebrating a holiday on the evening before the actual day, it takes place on the evening of June 23. 

It has been celebrated since the times of the Vikings by visiting healing water wells and making a large bonfire to ward away evil spirits. Today the water well tradition is gone. Bonfires on the beach, speeches, picnics and songs are traditional.  In the 1920s a tradition of putting a witch made of straw and cloth on the bonfire emerged as a remembrance of the church's witch burnings from 1540 to 1693. This burning sends the "witch" away to Bloksbjerg, the mountain Brocken in the Harz region of Germany where the great witch gathering was thought to be held on this day.

St. Hans Fest is celebrated by our club on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice and is a family event.  Our traditions involve lots of old fashioned kids' games such as tug-o-war and sack races and games for the older 'kids' such as beer frisbee.  The club supplies the pork and attendees bring pot luck which always guarantees a terrific meal.

At dusk, the huge bonfire is lit, songs are sung,  and the crowd cheers when the flames get high enough to engulf the witch.

Sounds kind of scary, but it's really a lot of fun and the mood of the evening is definitely up tempo! 

                Saturday, June 23  6:30 pm  THANKS ERIC AND KELLY - IT WAS FUN.

There will be food, games for the younger ones, lots of fun and, of course, the bonfire! Bring lawn chairs, dishes and utensils, beverages and something for the potluck.  Meat, potatoes and coffee are provided by the club.  Cost is $5.00 for non-members and free for members as well as kids 6 and under.

Directions:  From Red Deer take Hwy 11 West past Sylvan Lake to Range Road 20

              Turn right (north) onto RR 20.

              Look for the grey house on the right (#38527)

              Take the next driveway towards the grey shop.

              Lost?  Call Kelly at 403 391 8254

        Please RSVP to Kelly at 403 391 8254 by June 18.



See you in June!