I arrived home from The Rolling Stones show in Berlin at 3pm in the afternoon of June 23. This evening is St Hans aften and it is the most important summer day in my family, like with many others in Norway. The local strawberries were booked and secured by my wife at the local farmer, and we took the strawberries, camping chairs, food and a great mood to the beach by the Oslofjord at Blakstadbukta.
I have been celebrating St Hans on June 23 all my life, always at home at this place if I can. Only Stones tours could drag me away, and there have been a few over the past five decades for me, but now I was at home with my family.
The city of Oslo can be seen in the remote distance, as that is where the Oslo Fjord ends. The ferries to Denmark and Germany pass by on their way out there in the fjord. The weather is excellent, and there are many people out for the celebration tonight. The bonfire is usually lit around 7pm to 8pm in the evening, but before that we meet up for barbeque and just talking about the past, present and future, on this bright summer day.
We celebrate St Hans Aften (evening) on the 23rd of June every year in Norway. St. Hans is named after the evangelist John (called Johannes in Norwegian; Hans is the shortened form). While the St Hans day is on the 24th, the St Hans Evening is on the day before. As many live by the sea/fjord in Norway, there are many bonfires by the sea, or by lakes or rivers, and people are in their boats celebrating the midsummer bright long evenings. In the Oslo area the sun goes down at 10:45pm, and it is daylight past midnight, while north of the polar circle the sun never goes down, and the birds sing all night.
Due to the extreme heat all through May in the south of Norway, with temperatures in the range of 25 – 30 degrees C, and no rain, all bonfires and barbeque has been banned, so the bonfire building has been somewhat limited, but some rain we got a week or so ago made the forests not so dry anymore, so a few bonfires were allowed, as long as they were having plenty of water supply as backup in case they got out of control.
It did not take long until the strawberries had gone, and for a short evening I could forget about the tour with travel from city to city, out and back home 1-2 times every week for two months now. I had a great St Hans celebration, and it almost paid off as a substitute for my missing “17. mai” celebration. That is our constitution day, I was in Dublin, that is life on tour. Well you have to suffer a bit if you want to have it all, The Rolling Stones are still my number one priority, but I am so happy there was an opening in my tour and travel logistics for the St Hans celebrations this evening.