I dislike witches on the bonfire

I dislike witches on the bonfire

# Pastors Corner
Published by Simon Kangas Larsen on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 9:00 AM

Danes celebrate the summer solstice with Skt. Hans bonfires on June 23. John the Baptist is the one giving the name to Skt. Hans on the day which, according to the Bible, was his birthday, six months before Jesus' birthday. Not many people think of John the Baptist as we gather around the fire to welcome the summer with singing in fellowship, a speech and maybe a cold beer and barbecue.

What many Danes do remember is the old tradition, that a witch must be burned on the bonfire as a way to remove evil from the village. Women who did not fit into the medieval society were deemed to be witches and were therefore sentenced to death. I know for many it is just a traditional play and something we do for fun, but I am troubled by the witch on the fire and the tradition of burning a person - both then and now - and judging people for being different.

The current demonstrations against racism in the United States, Canada and the rest of the world show that people are still being judged and abused - simply because they are different. I am troubled by that too!

Jesus says in the Bible: Let him who is pure cast the first stone. But no one throws any rocks, because no one is pure. That is another way to say: All life matters. Therefore, no witch will ever end on my Skt. Hans bonfire as no one shall suffer under the dominion of racism.

Throw the stone away and find a piece of firewood, so our Skt. Hans celebration can be around a bonfire that reminds us of fellowship, summer and hope. It is more important than ever, in these times of corona isolation and the fight against racism.

Happy Skt Hans and summer until we meet again! 

Pastor Simon


Garrick de Demeter
I had all but forgotten about the archaic tradition of burning witches in effigy on the Sankt Hans bonfire and I certainly agree with you that (whether or not it is now done just for fun) the time for putting it behind us is long past due. At the same time, however, I also believe that it is important NOT to ERASE or "SANITIZE" the HISTORY of past injustices. We need historical "memories," for the instruction of future generations, in order to MINIMIZE THE RISK that the wrongs of bygone days might be repeated

I, too, very much enjoyed the Sankt Hans YouTube video. Thank you so much for your efforts in producing it and making it available for us!
AnneLise Pedersen
I also find the witch troubling, but the idea of separating evil from good as explained by your colleagues is a better explanation of the tradition. Thank you so much for the video. I was able to get it on u-tube And shared it with friends here in Alberta. It was very well done and received.