Monday, 24 June 2013

Views from my balcony (13): Midsummer bonfires on the Danish side of the Sound

Looking at the picture below, you might think that the cargo vessel Port Star, which tonight was on its way southwards in the Sound, is on fire:

The Port Star covered by smoke. 

Fortunately, nothing was wrong with the ship. The second picture below - taken about ten seconds before the first one -  shows the Port Star passing Hotel Marienlyst on the Danish side of the Sound. The fire immediately to the left of the ship's bow is the hotel's (rather smoky) Midsummer bonfire:

The Port Star and a Danish Midsummer bonfire.

The Marienlyst Midsummer bonfire emitted lots of smoke right after it was  lit. 

In Denmark the Midsummer celebration is called Sankthans aften ("St. John's Eve). It takes place on the evening of 23 June. The tradition of lighting midsummer bonfires goes back to ancient times, when people believed that the fires could protect against evil spirits. Today Danes gather at the bonfires for picnics, to hear speeches and sing the Midsummer hymn "Vi elsker vort land ... ("We love Our Country") and other traditional songs.

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