How and where is Denmark celebrating Sankt Hans Aften in 2021?

How and where is Denmark celebrating Sankt Hans Aften in 2021?
A fire is lit in the Engen woods outside Odense in 2020. Photo: Sophia Juliane Lydolph/Ritzau Scanpix
After last year's subdued celebrations, this year's Sankt Hans Aften promises to be somewhat closer to normal, although many events are cancelled. Here are some of the ones going ahead.

Sankt Hans Aften, with its giant fires, raucous group singing and drunken jubilance, is one of the highlights of the Danish calendar, bringing in the summer in style.

But despite the lifting of many of Denmark’s most thoroughgoing coronavirus restrictions, this year’s events will still be somewhat constrained. 

What are the restrictions in place for Sankt Hans? 

The remaining restrictions still impose a limit of 500 people for private outdoor events, although up to 2,000 people can attend formal cultural events, so long as the organisers divide the crowd into groups of 500. 

But organisers of public events still need to check participants’ coronavirus passes. There is also a recommendation that people be seated when engaged in group singing, something that conflicts fairly strongly with the traditional Sankt Hans Aften celebrations. 

Which of the big events have cancelled? 

As a result, several of the bigger events have in the past few weeks decided to cancel. 

The event at Frederiksberg Gardens in Copenhagen, a city centre favourite, announced last week that it was cancelling, as did the Bakken amusement park, a favourite for kids’ events. 

The municipality in Gentofte, where some of Copenhagen’s big Sankt Hans events are held, has put out a press release explaining that at least seven of the big ones have been cancelled. 

The Herfølge citizens association, which puts on a big event across the Køge bay from Copenhagen, announced it was cancelling last week, citing the need to check coronavirus passes and also its judgement that the ground is too soft and muddy for participants to be expected to sit. 

Other recent cancellations include the celebrations at Cirkuspladsen in Rudersdal Municipality, the Kirkehalvøen outside Horshølm, at the Rådhusplænen square in Rødovre, the celebrations at Søvang in Dragør, and at the northern tip of Jutland, the popular celebrations at Skagen. 

So where are events happening? 

Copenhagen 

Tivoli The capital’s iconic amusement park and gardens will have a bonfire by the lake, and cool jazz played by the Tivoli ensemble. 

Reffen. The streetfood market on the Refshaleøn peninsular is holding a party with a bonfire, tasty food, and live music. 

Rebæk Søpark. This event by the pond in a park in Hvidovre is going ahead, albeit with the crowd limited to 1,000 people. The event is already sold out but you can get on the waiting list here. The crowd is being divided into five sections of 200 people. The band Rocazino will perform and Helle Adelborg, the mayor of the Copenhagen suburb, will make a traditional Sankt Hans speech. 

Nordhavn. There’s a event organised from 4pm to 9pm at Nordhavn in Copenhagen, with concerts, a market and speeches. 

Amager Strandpark. There doesn’t seem to be an organised public event happening, but you can be sure that individual groups will light bonfires on the beach and do the traditional singing and drinking. 

Aarhus

Tivoli Friheden. Aarhus’ fairground near the Marselis forest is offering up live music and a speech by the city’s lord mayor Jacob Bundsgaard. 

Braband Lake. The local scouts are putting on a child-friendly Sankt Hans celebration in Braband, outside Aarhus. 

St Johannes Churchyard. This is one of the most “hygglig” of the city’s celebrations, at a churchyard right in the city centre, although it has already sold out

Langenæs Church. A longstanding and family-friendly event at the Langenæs church south of the city centre.

Odense

Engen. Natural soundings and a rather sizeable bonfire are two reasons to follow the decades-long Odense tradition of attending Sankt Hans at Engen in the Fruens Bøge forest. Until Monday it looked like the event would have to be cancelled due to the risk of wildfires, but has now confirmed it is going ahead. 

A previous version of this article linked to a Facebook event page for Sankt Hans at Islands Brygge, which actually took place in 2019. Apologies. 


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