Wednesday, June 30, 2010
it's been here quite a while by now. the summer, the heat, the sun. we have been going to the beach for months, we have made bonfires in the evening, played with water in the garden. we even got tired of it some days and stayed in doors during the hot afternoons with the air-condition on.
but one thing that reminds me of summer, the summers of my childhood, is sankt hans, the celebration of the shortest night of the year. this always seemed to fall just about the time where school was out for the summer, and the excitement of vacation, long days at home or away was in the air. looking into those flames of the sankt hans fire it was like time changed. endless weeks ahead filled with promises of something different with no clocks, no bells.
for the last five years we have celebrated this tradition of sankt hans on a beach here in israel with other mixed danish-israeli families. it's a danish tradition to burn a witch on the bonfire, and so do we. yes, i know, not very politically correct, and a macabre reminder of those dark days in europe where "real" witches were burned, usually strong, independent women (and men) with knowledge. or just plain unlucky humans caught in local power struggles and jealosy.
nowadays it's just a doll, and as i told the kids, it's a magic doll. when she burns she travels with the smoke all the way to bloksbjerg where she will become a real witch and dance happily through the short night with her witch friends and the giant trolls. of course they are all good witches and good trolls in my version. i hope it helped them deal with the scary, but spectacular sight of the doll on fire.
for more summer, pick up your broom and fly on over to the lovely jane of spain daily.
btw, the kids were very excited and brought pictures to their kindergarten of the witch burning. they talked about it at the morning gathering, and i don't even want to think about what the other parents were thinking when their kids got home and told them about the danish people that are burning witches at the beach. oh dear.