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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Cultural · #2297100
About a midsummer celebration called Sankthansaften
June is the first month of summer, and fittingly also the month for summer celebrations. In many countries, in particular in the northern parts of Europe, there is a tradition for midsummer celebrations. In Norway and Denmark, this is called Sankthansaften or just Sankthans for short. This is celebrated on the evening of June 23rd, and translates to Eve of St.John, after John the Baptist. On this evening, people celebrate with bonfires, picnics with grilled food, music and good cheer. Traditionally, the bonfires represent protection against evil, and they are built very high, especially on the beaches. In the past, young people would also go to holy springs, that represented the river where St. John baptised Jesus. There have historically been many traditions, superstitions and practices connected to thus evening. For instance, special types of herbs, like healing herbs, were to be collected at this time, in order to be as effective as possible. Despite some of the older practices no longer being observed, Sankthans is still a much beloved evening of celebration. It is seen not so much as a religious celebration as a celebration of summer solstice, which occurs around the same time. In Sweden, the corresponding tradition is simply called Midtsummer evening, and is a much bigger celebration than in other Scandinavian countries. It is celebrated on the Friday closest to the 24th of June. However one chooses to celebrate, the end of June is a perfect time in these areas for joyus get-togethers with families and friends. Is it similar to celebrations elswhere in the world?

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