Bonfire and party in the park

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Exams will shortly make way for the summer holidays, and the association for the halls of residence will celebrate this by with a bonfire, grill and dancing until the early hours in the light of the midsummer night, when the traditional Midsummer party (called Sankt Hans in Danish) is held in the University Park.

2017.06.21 | Marie Groth Andersen

Archive photo: Anders Trærup

Programme

12:00: KIF Cup 2017 – Football Tournament for students living in the University Park’s residence halls.
18:00: Firing up the grill next to "Efor".
18:30: Welcome and award ceremony for the KIF Cup and the “Efor” quiz league. 
20:30: Speech by Nicolai Bang, conservative member of the Regional Council in the Central Denmark Region.    21:00: Lighting of the bonfire.     
22:00: Dancing
00:00-03:00: DJ Adorjan Kovacs spins some tunes in "Efor".   
05.00: The party ends.     

The university's gardeners have once again built what could end up being the biggest Midsummer bonfire in town. And the association for the halls of residence at the University Park have again looked at the list of previous residents to find the person to give this year’s traditional speech before the bonfire is lit. 

This year, the conservative member of the Regional Council in the Central Denmark Region, Nicolai Bang, has been chosen. He lived in Residence Hall 1 from 2005 until 2014 while studying law.

"Even though he is a politician, he won’t be making a political speech. Instead, he’ll tell fun stories about his time at the halls of residence," says Jakob Wadsager, chair of the association.

Having an alumnus make the speech is in keeping with tradition. But Jakob is considering changing things a little.

Same formula as previous years - but with a little change

"Normally the speech for the students in the residence halls is held in front of "Efor"But I would like to get the speaker up on one of the balconies, so that everyone who has turned up can hear what he’s saying.However, I’m not sure whether there will be time to get the audio equipment we’ll need, so I can't promise that we’ll definitely do this," he says.

Another break with tradition is that the traditional Danish Midsummer Ballad will not be sung by the Aarhus University Student Choir, as they cannot make it Friday. Instead, a soloist will sing the song as the bonfire is lit and the witch is burnt.

Apart from that, this year's Midsummer party is based on the same formula as previous years, as the residence hall association is new and still finding its feet, explains the new chair. 

"We'll treat this year as a practice round, but my personal vision is to do something new in the coming years."


About Sankt Hans

In Denmark, Midsummer is celebrated on the Midsummer evening on 23 June with a bonfire, speech, singing and a celebration.

On top of the bonfire there is typically a witch-like figure which must – according to tradition – be burnt and sent to “Bloksbjerg”. The witch burning is relatively new and it is thought the tradition began towards the end of the 1800s, possibly arriving from Germany.

It is also traditional to sing a song written by the Danish poet and artist Holger Drachmann called the Midsummer Ballad. 

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