Sankt Hans Aften (St John’s Eve)

While most of the rest of the northern hemisphere was celebrating Midsummer on the night of 22/23 June, in Norway the celebration is delayed until the following night as it coincides with eve of Saint John’s Day (apparently the birth of John the Baptist).  As is common with most of the rest of Scandinavia and the Nordic countries the event consists of a large bonfire and much open-air grilling and food consumption, weather permitting and usually large amounts of beer guzzling, although Norway’s draconian laws concerning alcohol consumption in public spaces curtails this – a bit.

In our neighbourhood here in Fyllingsdalen the local community arranged quite a large open-air party with lots of food and entertainment for the kids as well as the obligatory bonfire…

The compulsory Midsummer’s bonfire in Fyllingsdalen.
Despite an unseasonal downpour earlier in the day, spirits were not dampened.
Plenty of food was available including a selection of cakes.
A variety of entertainment was provided for the kids and this young lady certainly seems to be having fun on the ponies.
A local band was called in to provide some live music.
Luckily the weather stayed fine for a couple of hours and a good turn-out seemed to enjoy their evening.






19 thoughts on “Sankt Hans Aften (St John’s Eve)

  1. Looks like a grand old time! Love the array of cakes and desserts:) Do you have a brewery in your town? It’s becoming very popular here in the USA – small breweries. The town where I used to live (pop. 50,000) has FIVE! Cheers. Maureen


    1. One of Norway’s biggest. They make a popular beer known as Hansa. We have a lot of micro-breweries back in Scotland too. Check out Brew Dog. 😀


  2. This looks such fun!! Strangely and coincidentally, at my Spanish class last week, my teacher was telling us about the Spanish celebration of San Juan – bonfires too! They jump over the fires to bring good luck – does this happen in Norway? I half-remembered something similar happens in Ireland, and lo and behold, it does, and they jump over bonfires to like the Spanish people do!


    1. From what I remember of my time in Spain, the Noche de San Juan tradition involved something like jumping over seven waves in the sea and then throwing your written wishes into the fire. Could be wrong though – a lot of vino collapso was consumed that evening! Here they just gather round the fire and eat and drink (to excess of course, if it’s just adults!).


    1. It was quite a pleasant diversion for a couple of hours even though our party was mainly a ‘for the kids’ kinda thing. I’d prefer a smaller fire and more beer! 😀


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