event Calendar

midwest United States (il, wi, mi, KY, OH)

    • August 12, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • August 28, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • Danish Sisterhood of America

    Recommendations during COVID-19 Pandemic

    July 24, 2020

    Dear members, friends and lodge leaders of the Danish Sisterhood of America,

    In this time of global concern about the spread of COVID-19 and based on recommendations and information from the CDC (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention), state and local agencies, the Danish Sisterhood’s main focus is to protect our members and limit the spread of COVID-19. It is critical that we continue to protect the health and well-being of our communities and work to not overwhelm our health care system.

    Local lodges are urged to suspend gatherings and events until your local health department and leaders recommend in-person meetings. As we mentioned earlier this year, if your district convention is cancelled and your lodge will incur a cancellation fee, please contact a member of the National Board.

    We encourage you to reach out to your Sisters. Use video calls and video conference technology such as Zoom to hold your monthly gatherings. A number of our lodges have are successfully using Zoom and finding they are able to enjoy the participation of members from far away. Reach out to your National Board if you have not yet tried Zoom and are curious.

    The Supreme Lodge recognizes that many of our members fall within the high risk category established by the CDC.

    The entire board urges you to continue to take the necessary precautions and stay safe and healthy.

    Christina Sallee, National President


    Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date on news and events within the Danish Sisterhood.

    Danish Sisterhood Website

    • August 12, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • December 30, 2020
    • (CST)
    • 41 sessions
    • Online Concerts


    Online Concerts on Facebook

    Tour and Tickets

    My story is not ordinary. I feel pretty ordinary, on the inside. But when I tell people where I come from and how I got here, it usually stirs up a gasp or two. My official story simply states that I grew up in Denmark and now live in the Pacific Northwest, but there is much more to it than that. So I decided to tell it. 

    My childhood was spent divided on three different continents. Strangest of all, I was born in South America. Valdivia, Chile to be exact. My parents were missionaries, but soon after my arrival, they decided to move back to the US. I was 6 months old. Needless to say, I don't remember anything from Chile at all. I ended up with dual citizenship - but not a Chilean one, as you might think, but a Danish/American citizenship. 

    My parents met in New York. My mom, from a small town of Sejlflod in Jylland, Denmark. My Dad from the Pacific Northwest. So when they decided, with 6 months old me in their arms to move back to the US, they settled on Tacoma, WA. Kind of fortuitous that my journey should lead me back here - only about 10 blocks away from my first American home. But that's for a later chapter. 

    My parents divorced when I was three and my mother decided to move us, three girls, to Denmark. First Skanderborg, then what I now consider my hometown, Haslev. This is where I went to school, where I had friends, where I learned about life, and love and longing. This is where I grew up. If you can call yourself a "grown-up" at 17; that's when I moved away from home. 
    I then became what I would call a "Copenhagen nomade" moving almost 25 times in the 13 or so years I lived there, interrupted only by a 2-year stint in Barcelona - also a story for another chapter.

    I finally up-rooted, if I ever had roots, and moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2010 when I was 31.

    And that's the short, cliff notes version story. But that's not really how I want to tell it. I want to tell my story by delving into how that story made me, me. What it was like, being a part of two worlds, and what sometimes felt like not being a part of anything at all. Feeling like an outsider for all the wrong reasons, trying so hard to belong, but not feeling like I belonged at all.
    As a child, I would spend the entire year going to school and living my life in Haslev and every other summer I would visit my Dad in Seattle. The alternating summers, he would visit us. I spoke (and still do speak) both languages fluently... mostly without an accent in either language. My dad would call every week long-distance to keep in touch with us girls. And in the '80s that was not cheap! My mom, even though she is 100% Dane, would make traditional Danish cooking right alongside fried chicken and cornbread. I felt the duality every day. 

    Consequently, it somehow made me feel divided. Instead of belonging everywhere, I felt like I didn't belong anywhere. 
    I suppose, with a different outlook on life, this duality could have made me feel abundant, like a citizen of the world, who had many homes. But my upbringing in so many ways nourished lack and dependence. And it made me feel stretched too thin. I was too American to be Danish and too Danish to be American. So I was, effectively, neither.

    Every time I came back to Denmark I would miss the US terribly. But it was never actually true the other way around. This only occurred to me when I finally moved here, that the homesickness I would feel for the US when gone, never set in for Denmark. Yes, I missed my family, but not the culture, not the place itself. 

    In reality, moving to the US clarified a lot of things for me. I have always been more American than Danish, I know that now. I've been loud, brazen, and always had big dreams and big gestures. Not in any way the proper little girl my mother tried to raise me to be. I had a terrible temper, that felt uncontrollable at times and a big voice that was repeatedly told to not shine too brightly, not to make the other kids feel bad. 

    This may seem harsh, but anyone from Denmark would notice this as "Janteloven" or "The Law of Jante" - a culturally-induced oppression that the Danes all know too well. Again, this is a phenomenon I will explain in depth in another chapter. Suffice it to say, it's a classic "crabs in a bucket" syndrome. When one tries to climb out the others will pull it back down.

    So I suppose I was not entirely caught in the middle. I sometimes describe myself as "half-and-half", with a chuckle. But that doesn't really describe me. In reality, I am more like 75/25. In the last ten years, I have learned to embrace my Danish roots, while also fully encompassing how American I really am. Immigrant heritage and all. 

    In truth, it probably doesn't matter what continent we are on. Denmark for me was a time in my life when I tried to hide who I truly was, in order to try and fit in. It was a time of listening to others over my own intuition, my inner voice. It was a time of not being and owning who I truly am and what my life's purpose is. The US for me has been the journey of fully growing into my true self. A journey of growth and self-exploration. Of owning all sides of me, even the ones I don't necessarily like. And most importantly listening to my own truth rather than what others say. It's not about Denmark and it's not about the US. It's about what each country represents to me and who I became during each timeframe I spent there. 

    I can now look at being "half-and-half" and feel grateful that I was blessed with so much diversity. And I can own my big voice and my larger than life attitude and put myself on a stage and feel right at home. But I can also remember where I came from, and what is truly important in life. Love of family, love of friends and most importantly, self-love.
    • August 14, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • August 31, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • The Danish Home - Chicago, IL


    Tuesday, March 10, 2020

    Dear Family Members and Friends of The Danish Home:

    In conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and with an abundance of caution, we are implementing extra measures to keep our community healthy. Visitation restrictions have been strongly recommended for long-term care facilities to prevent introduction of the COVID-19 virus.

    Effective IMMEDIATELY, visitation is restricted to only ESSENTIAL MEDICAL VISITORS. An essential visitor includes, but is not limited to, physicians, private caregivers, x-ray and lab technicians, or hospice workers. Essential visitors will be screened for symptoms and fever upon entering the building. For the time being, we are asking that all family and friends do NOT come to The Danish Home.

    As additional precautions, we are screening every employee, resident and private caregiver on a shift-to-shift basis, with temperature recording and symptom checks.

    We are STRONGLY discouraging residents from going out into the community, and we are temporarily halting community shopping trips and canceling activities that are led by volunteers or paid facilitators. We are also canceling any activities that involve outside visitors and large crowds, including our monthly birthday celebration on March 18.

    Residents who need certain items from the store may request to have them brought in by staff members. Voting in the primary presidential election will still take place on March 14 (residents are voting in advance of the Illinois election date).

    We realize that this may be a difficult and challenging time, and we appreciate your patience and understanding. We are taking every precaution to protect your loved one and our community. We will continue to send you updates and remain in touch on a regular basis. Please visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/danishhomechicago/and our website (www.danishhomeofchicago.org) for the most up-to-date information.

    We will continue to collect information and evaluate our actions daily to ensure that we are adhering to the latest public health guidelines and best practices. These restrictions will be in effect immediately and will be reviewed again and evaluated on or before March 18, 2020. However, the IDPH has advised us that these precautions will go well beyond the March 18 date.

    Please contact us if you would like more clarification on visitation by sending an email todlathom@danishhomeofchicago.org or call us at 773-775-7383, ext. 4.

    • August 14, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • April 01, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • American-Scandinavian Foundation - New York, NY

    STUDY IN THE U.S. 2021-22

    NEW YORK, NY-The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications from Danish graduate students and post-graduates who wish to study or conduct research in the U.S. during the 2021-22 academic year. Awards are made in all fields.

    For further information and to begin an online application, please click here!

    Deadline: April 1, 2021

    Download Full Press Release

    For email inquiries, please contact grants@amscan.org.
    For more information, please visit www.amscan.org.


    NEW YORK, NY 10016



    • August 14, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • September 15, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • American-Scandinavian Foundation - New York, NY


    Application Deadline: Extended - September 15, 2020

    The American-Scandinavian Foundation annually awards three translation prizes for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a Scandinavian author born after 1900.

    Submission Information
    Entry deadline:
    September 15

    The Nadia Christensen Prize includes a $2,500 award, publication of an excerpt in Scandinavian Review, and a commemorative bronze medallion.

    The Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award, given to an individual whose literature translations from a Nordic language have not previously been published, includes a $2,000 award, publication of an excerpt in Scandinavian Review, and a commemorative bronze medallion.

    The Wigeland Prize, given to the best translation by a Norwegian, includes a $2,000 award, publication of an excerpt in Scandinavian Review, and a commemorative bronze medallion.

    —Apply Now!


    1. The prizes are for outstanding English translations of poetry, fiction, drama or literary prose originally written in a Nordic language.
    2. If prose, manuscripts must be no longer than 50 pages; if poetry, 25 (Do not exceed these limits). Manuscripts must be typed and double-spaced with numbered pages.
    3. Translations must be from the writing of one author, although not necessarily from a single work. Please include a one-paragraph description about the author.
    4. An entry must consist of:
      • One copy of the translation, including a title page and a table of contents for the proposed book of which the manuscript submitted is a part. 
      • One copy of the work(s) in the original language; please send the relevant pages.
      • A CV containing all contact information, including email address, for the translator; and
      • A letter or other document signed by the author, the author’s agent or the author’s estate granting permission for the translation to be entered in this competition and published in Scandinavian Review.
    1. Translator’s names may not appear on any page of their manuscripts, including the title page.
    2. The translation submitted in the competition may not have been previously published in the English language by the submission deadline.
      (If the translation being submitted to this competition is also under consideration by a publisher, you must inform us of the expected publication date.)
    3. Translators may submit one entry only and may not submit the same entry in more than two competitions.
    4. The Translation Prize cannot be won more than three times by the same translator.
    Previous ASF Translation Prize Opening and Winners.pdf


    • August 15, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • September 26, 2020
    • (EDT)
    • 7 sessions
    • Online - Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center New York




    HCA Storytelling Online 

    Saturday Mornings from 11 am to Noon (Eastern Time)
    Storytellers from throughout the world tell Andersen’s iconic stories
    From Central Park to Your Home anywhere in the world 

    This year the Hans Christian Andersen Story Telling Center, Inc. (“HCASTC”)  is proud to launch a 2020 Live On-line Season starting on May 30th.   World renowned New York storyteller and artistic director of the HCASTC, Laura Simms,  has curated a season of stories told by the  best  storytellers from across the globe.  Different Andersen stories will be told every week. 

    Click Here for the Complete Schedule

    Hans Christian Andersen’s stories are the  most translated literature next to the Bible.   His stories, penned in the nineteenth Century, have been delighting audiences worldwide since. They  were created as commentaries for social injustice and inequality.  They remain  contemporary  and thrill children and adults alike with their array of fabulous characters including the Ugly Duckling who overcomes bullying and the Emperor Without Clothes whose vanity and idiocy is exposed by a child.  Kindness, humor, and the power of imagination and truth prevails. 

    If you are looking for something wonderful and valuable to share with your family in these times, join us for live performances on Saturdays at 11 a.m. straight to your kitchen or living room or garden. Recorded The link for our live performance will be on our website shortly. performances will subsequently be made available on our YouTube channel and on Facebook. Our website will also have those links. The program will continue through the end of September. If social distancing rules permit, live performances may be resumed in Central Park later during the season. Stories have always been the most brilliant and engaging way to start a great conversation.   Let the tale of the Nightingale about authenticity and real communication lift your spirits.  The poignant  tales of The Last Pearl and The Little Match Girl soothe your heart. And laugh out loud with the tales of Jack, The Dullard and the Swineherd. We will have mornings of Andersen’s longer irresistible tales of the Snow Queen (the real story behind Frozen), The Wild Swans, or The Little Mermaid. 

    Storytelling is entertaining. It is also life confirming. It keeps imagination and faith alive.  Technology has helped us immensely through this time, but put away the laptop when the story is over and talk together about the stories.  Tell your own. And keep up a tradition that has been ongoing for 64 years.  

    There is a restorative power in storytelling. The most experienced and wonderful storytellers will support a sense of inner safety while exploring profound resolutions to emotional experiences. Research has shown that listening to stories helps increase empathy and navigate challenging times. AND it improves the ability to  feel closer to one another by building connection among  people.  Let’s strengthen our sense of being one global  community. 

    What better time in which to shrink  physical distances and join us mind to mind across the world.

    HCASTC has been freely delivering stories to New Yorkers of all ages since 1956, rain or shine from its signature location at the Statue of Hans Christian Andersen in Central Park (72nd Street and 5th Avenue). We bring stories, and the Park  into your home. 

    HCASTC is a nonprofit organization that, aside from its historical site, has been bringing storytelling projects in schools, and is partnering with the Andersen Museum in Odense, Denmark, hometown of the author, HCASTC is supported by private donors, contributions from listeners,  and the Parks Department of New York City. For the last 64 years it has been proudly offering spoken word performances that gathered thousands of families throughout the summer months. This is still today kept as a gift: an open invitation for us all to meet in the spirit of Andersen’s love for justice, children and literature.

    For detailed information, please visit our website at http://www.hcastorycenter.org


    • August 16, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • April 10, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • 87 sessions
    • The Danish Home - Chicago, IL


    Danish Home residents and staff only

    Please check with the Danish Home about event attendance restrictions now in place.

    Every Sunday 2:00PM

    Danish Home Capital Campaign

    Contribute to the Campaign Here

    Visit www.danishhomeofchicago.org for events updates.

    The Danish Home
    5656 N Newcastle
    Chicago, IL  60631

    Telephone - (773) 775-7385
    The Danish Home Email

    • August 16, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • November 22, 2020
    • (CST)
    • 3 sessions
    • The Danish Home - Chicago, IL


    Dagmar Lodge No. 4, Chicago

    General meetings, which are traditionally held at The Danish Home of Chicago (5656 North Newcastle Avenue), are now virtual. Please join us.

    Sunday August 16
    Sunday October 18 
    Sunday November 22 Annual Cookie Walk

    2:30 pm Social Connections
    3:00 pm General Meeting begins

    For Information, please contact:

    Events Coordinator Bente Rasmussen, 630-699-0332 
    E-mail: benterasmussen1@aol.com

    Secretary Jean Jackson, 708-784-0827
    Email: jean.m.jackson@att.net


    • August 19, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • August 21, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • Danebod Folk School - Tyler, MN


    Danebod Website

    Due to the COVID-19 virus the Danebod campus in Tyler, MN is closed for the summer 2020.

    The 2020 Danebod Folk Meeting will be an on-line activity affirming the joy of living through enlightenment. The meeting will feature music, stories and lectures.

    You are invited to attend the on-line activity planned for August 19-21. We invite you to whip up a batch of kringle, brew a cup of coffee, and join us virtually on Zoom.

    View schedule, programming  and registration information on the website. Registration for this event is $150.  Please submit your registration and payment no later than July 15.

    There will be a Zoom tutorial held at 10 AM, Wednesday August 19, 2020.

    Link to Registration

    Danebod Folk Meeting

    140 Danebod Court | Tyler, MN 56178 | (507) 247-3000

    danebodlutheran@yahoo.com | rickeann64@gmail.com

    • August 19, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • December 16, 2020
    • (CST)
    • 5 sessions
    • Festival Foods Community Room - Kenosha, WI


    Danish Sisterhood gatherings and meetings are likely suspended for the month of May.  Please check with your local lodge.

    Danish Sisterhood Lodge No. 20, Kenosha,WI is holding regular meetings on the third Wednesday of each month at the Festival Foods Community Room. Call Betty Lasch at 262-554-0278 for info.

    Lodge # 20
    Kenosha, Wisconsin

    Telephone - 262-554-0278


    • August 19, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • March 17, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • 8 sessions
    • Danish Home of Chicago, Chicago, IL


    Please check with the Danish Home about event attendance restrictions now in place.

    Birthday party for the residents at 2 pm. Remember to bring raffle prize, chocolate, wine, etc.

    Visit www.danishhomeofchicago.org for events updates.

    The Danish Home of Chicago
    5656 N. Newcastle Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60631

    Telephone - (773) 775-7385
    The Danish Home Email

    Danish Home Website

    • August 20, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • August 23, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • Greenville, Michigan


    A festival that celebrates the homecoming of family and friends and our area's Danish Heritage.

    Click here to see schedule and event updates...

    Festival Updates - COVID-19

     History of the Danish Festival
    In 1964 a contest was held to develop a way to promote Greenville.  Three business owners offered a cash prize to the person submitting the winning idea.  Mrs. Dorothy Oliver was the winner with her suggestion that a day be set aside to honor the Danish heritage that Greenville enjoys.

    The first Danish Festival was held on August 18, 1965.  Today a 15-25 member Board of Directors and hundreds of volunteers are responsible for developing and presenting the festival, which draws crowds of over 75,000.  This total community effort makes it possible for Greenville to host the Danish Festival year after year.
    Every effort is made to maintain the festival as a non-commercial community event.  The Danish Festival incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1968 and achieved 501c3 status in 2015.

    Greenville Danish Festival
    210 S. Lafayette St
    ​Greenville, MI 48838

    Danish Festival Website

    Danish Festival Facebook

    • September 10, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • November 12, 2020
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions
    • Des Plaines Elks Lodge - Des Plaines, IL


    May 14 - Virtual meeting on ZOOM is being arranged.

    Meeting on the second Thursday.
    (recently changed from Tuesday)

    January, March, May, September, and November

    Dinner at 6:00PM, meeting at 8:15PM

    Please Check with the Officers on Special Events & Meeting Locations

    Lars Rasmussen, President - 630-699-0343
    Per Bøgehegn, Membership - 847-439-4549

    For Dinner reservations call Jackie Hoyer 630-816-8183

    Des Plaines Elks Lodge
    495 Lee Street
    Des Plaines, IL 60016

    Telephone - (630) 350-2850 

    Dania Chicago Website

    Dania Chicago Facebook

    • September 19, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • Online


    Celebrating the Power of Our Community: Valuing Friendship and Family

    Join us Live 

    Virtual Benefit Event featuring performances from:

    • Grammy-winning jazz violinist Mads Tolling
    • Danish folk musicians Kristian Bugge and Sonnich Lydom
    • The Royal Danish Ballet’s Kompagni B
    • Sct. Mariae School’s Danish Big Band
    • Bjornson Male Chorus
    • and more!
    PLUS! Online Silent Auction and Essence Award Presentation

    Find out more about this event and how you can support The Danish Home Foundation at https://danishhomeofchicago.org/resident-life-events/

    Telephone - (773) 775-7385
    The Danish Home Email

    Donate Here

    • September 19, 2020
    • 7:00 PM (CDT)
    • Online


    Celebrating the Power of Our Community: Valuing Friendship and Family

    Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

    Join us live online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj87srQyfHE

    Virtual Benefit Event featuring performances from:

    • Grammy-winning jazz violinist Mads Tolling
    •  Danish folk musicians Kristian Bugge and Sonnich Lydom
    • The Royal Danish Ballet’s Kompagni B
    • Sct. Mariae School’s Danish Big Band
    • Bjornson Male Chorus
    • and more!
    PLUS! Online Silent Auction and Essence Award Presentation

    Find out more about this event and how you can support The Danish Home Foundation at https://danishhomeofchicago.org/resident-life-events/

    • September 20, 2020
    • 11:00 AM (CDT)
    • Online - Zoom Meeting


    Online meeting of Rebild Membership - Denmark and U.S.A.

    Rebild Website

    Rebild Facebook

    • September 26, 2020
    • 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM (CDT)
    • Simpson Park - Valley Park, MO

    THe Annual Scandinavian Picnic


    Please pass this information on to your members for advance planning purposes.

    Location: Simpson Park - Simpson Park - Shelter - Blue Heron Shelter, Valley Park Missouri.

    Date: Sat 09/26/20, 1 - 5 PM, or dusk!

    I checked out six other facilities that did not quite meet our requirements. Hopefully, the Blue Heron Shelter will have electricity restored by September, otherwise we will all have to drink Glögg & eat Lutefisk, instead of coffee and graved laks!

    We Danes are in charge this year. Let us know of any innovative ideas you have to make this a great success!

    The Danish Club of St Louis
    St. Louis, MO

    Email - erik@kunstdesigns.com

    • September 30, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • October 03, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • Norsk Høstfest - Minot, North Dakota


    Høstfest Website

    The Norsk Høstfest Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 festival. This step has been taken due to uncertainty over the COVID-19 virus and its global impact, both now and in the fall.  The health and safety of guests, volunteers, and performers is our utmost priority.  Norsk Høstfest will be back in 2021.
    Høstfest has operated for 42 consecutive years up until the difficult and painful decision was made to cancel this year's event.
    Some may believe the decision is premature; however, Norsk Høstfest is a year-long effort that depends on early ticket sales and extensive planning that is well underway. Given the current disruption in regular activity, we are unable to fully staff and execute our sales efforts now. We have no answers to what might be the situation in September. In response, we have chosen to follow the path of minimizing risk to all involved.
    Norsk Høstfest is an international event with attendees, vendors, entertainers, and chefs coming from all corners of the US, Canada, and Scandinavia. It relies on volunteers and visitors from an older-than-average demographic, labeled currently by CDC as a higher risk from COVID-19.  Because the event requires the mobilization of volunteers on a year-long basis, the Board of Directors deemed it prudent to cancel the 2020 festival.
    It is a heartbreaking decision, and we are aware that this will impact our fans, guests, tours, volunteers, entertainers, sponsors, hotels, chefs, international partners, donors, the City of Minot, and the State of North Dakota.
    For those who have purchased tickets, refunds will be forthcoming. Please keep watching hostfest.com for more news as we navigate our course of action.
    We appreciate your support and understanding. The staff is excited to begin working immediately on the 2021 Høstfest. Volunteers, sponsors, and fans are welcomed to join in this effort. We will see everyone in 2021.
    • October 04, 2020
    • (CDT)
    • Online - Zoom Meeting


    Online meeting of Rebild Leadership - Denmark and U.S.A.

    Rebild Website

    Rebild Facebook

    • October 17, 2020
    • 11:30 AM (CDT)
    • The Danish Home - Chicago, IL


    Visit www.danishhomeofchicago.org for events updates.

    The Danish Home
    5656 N Newcastle
    Chicago, IL  60631

    Telephone - (773) 775-7385
    The Danish Home Email

    • November 01, 2020
    • 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM (CST)
    • The Danish Home - Chicago, IL


    Visit www.danishhomeofchicago.org for events updates.

    The Danish Home
    5656 N Newcastle
    Chicago, IL  60631

    Telephone - (773) 775-7385
    The Danish Home Email

    • December 06, 2020
    • 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM (CST)
    • Russel Acton Folk Center - Berea, KY


    At Russel Acton Folk Center.  Contact Sune Frederiksen for more information 859-248-0690

    Russel Acton Folk Center
    212 W Harrison St
    Berea, KY  40403

    Telephone - (859)248-0690

    • June 23, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • June 23, 2024
    • (CDT)
    • 4 sessions

    Sankt Hans Aften (Midsummer)

    A Nordic tradition, celebrated on the night before the Midsummer's Day

    Midsummer's Eve or Sankt Hans Aften is a relic of pagan customs, where the shortest day, the winter solstice, and the longest day, the summer solstice, were celebrated. Originally it was believed that midsummer night was filled with magical forces of nature—both bad and good. All herbs and sources were particularly sacred, and it was a tradition to seek sacred springs or picking healing herbs on this night.

    The tradition of burning bonfires came later. Originally they were not associated with Midsummer's Eve celebration, although later some farmers who believed in witches started burning bonfires on this night. A shape that looks like a witch was put in the fire. The purpose of the fire was to scare the witches and evil spirits away, rather than burning them.

    Today the Midsummer's Eve is still celebrated with bonfires, dancing, singing and a traditional speech from someone well known in the community. The celebrations are held all around the country, both in cities and small towns.

    Some of the most vibrant celebrations take place in Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, and Skagen. The capital has bonfires at several places, including Tivoli Gardens, Frederiksberg Gardens, Islands Brygge, and more. Likewise, Aarhus offers quite a few locations to celebrate, such as Aarhus University campus, Godsbanen, or Langenæs Church. In Odense, the festivities take place at Engen in the Fruens Bøge forest. At last, the remote Skagen promises an exceptional celebration. Thousands come to the northern tip of Denmark to enjoy traditional songs at the bonfire that lasts here longer than anywhere else in the country.

    Burning the witches in Denmark

    The height of Danish summer is celebrated on the evening of June 23 under the name Sankt Hans (Saint Hans), who is known in English as John the Baptist. The festival of Sankt Hans and the celebration of the summer solstice have pagan roots and date back to the days before Christianity came to Denmark. 

    Sankt Hans is generally celebrated with a dinner at home with family and friends followed by a stroll to a community bonfire, often by the beach or on the shore of one of Denmark's many lakes.

    Tradition calls for an effigy of a witch to be placed on top of the bonfire, and as it burns the community sings the song "Midsommervisen", written by the Danish poet Holger Drachmann in 1885. The effigy of the witch symbolises all the misery that Denmark as a nation wants to avoid, and the song celebrates the hope that peace will prevail.

    Midsommervisen “Vi elsker vort land”  

    De tre første vers, som normalt synges ved bålfester
    Text: Holger Drachmann, 1885
    Melodi P. E. Lange-Müller, 1885 

    Vi elsker vor land,
    når den signede jul
    tænder stjernen i træet med glans i hvert øje.
    Når om våren hver fugl,
    over mark, under strand,
    lader stemmen til hilsende triller sig bøje:
    Vi synger din lov over vej, over gade,
    vi kranser dit navn, når vor høst er i lade,
    men den skønneste krans,
    bli'r dog din Sankte Hans!
    Den er bunden af sommerens hjerter,
    så varme så glade. 

    Vi elsker vort land,
    men ved midsommer mest,
    når hver sky over marken velsignelsen sender,
    når af blomster er flest,
    og når kvæget i spand
    giver rigeligst gave til flittige hænder;
    når ikke vi pløjer og harver og tromler,
    når koen sin middag i kløveren gumler,
    da går ungdom til dans
    på dit bud Sankte Hans
    ret som føllet og lammet, der frit
    over engen sig tumler. 

    Vi elsker vort land,
    og med sværdet i hånd
    skal hver udenvælts fjende beredte os kende,
    men mod ufredens ånd
    under mark over strand,
    vil vi bålet på fædrenes gravhøje tænde
    hver by har sin heks,
    og hver sogn sine trolde.
    Dem vil vi fra livet med glædesblus holde
    vi vil fred her til lands
    Sankte Hans, Sankte Hans!
    Den kan vindes, hvor hjerterne
    aldrig bli'r tvivlende kolde

    English Translation...

    Vi Elsker Vort Land/"We Love Our Country"

    We love our country
    when the blessed Christmas
    light up the star in the tree with a twinkle in each eye
    When in spring each bird
    over the field, down by the beach
    lets its voice give into greeting trills:
    We sing your law across the road, across the street,
    we wreath your name, when our harvest is in the barn,
    but the most beautiful wreath
    becomes yours, Saint Hans
    It is bound by the the hearts of the summer so warm, so happy
    but the most beautiful wreath
    becomes yours, Saint Hans
    It is bound by the hearts of the summer so warm, so happy

    We love our country
    but mostly around midsummer
    when every cloud sends the blessing across the field
    When most flowers are here
    and when the cattle drag the plough
    gives plenty of gifts to laborious hands;
    when we don't plough and harrow and roll,
    when the cow munch its dinner of clover:
    At that time youth will start to dance
    at your command Saint Hans!
    Straight as the foal and the lamb which freely romp across the meadow
    At that time youth will start to dance
    at your command Saint Hans!
    Straight as the foal and the lamb which freely romp across the meadow

    We love our country
    and with the sword in our hands
    every foreign enemy shall prepared know us
    But against the spirit of strife
    over the field, down by the beach
    we will light the bonfire on the forefathers' burial mounds:
    Every town has its witch, and every parish its trolls,
    we will keep those from our lives with fires of happiness
    We want peace in this country,
    saint Hans, saint Hans!
    It can be won where the hearts never become doubting cold
    We want peace in this country,
    saint Hans, saint Hans!
    It can be won where the hearts never become doubting cold

    We love our country
    and we greet that king
    who has tried and chosen the right princess:
    In his fairy tale castle
    every woman, every man can
    find an example of love for life!
    Let the times grow old, let the colors fade,
    we will however draw a memory in our hearts:
    From the North so rich in legends
    a glory goes across the world
    It is the reflection of the wonderland's enchanted meadows,
    From the North so rich in legends
    a glory goes across the world
    It is the reflection of the wonderland's enchanted meadows!

National Foundation for Danish America
PO Box 1003
Wilmette, Illinois 60091

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