Best time to go to Norway

Sankt Hans 2019

Huge bonfires are lit to ward off evil witches while Norwegians are getting married for fun during the midnight sun

Sankt Hans in Norway - Best Time
Photo by

© Geir Halvorsen

Sankt Hans or Jonsok, translated as "John's wake" is actually a Christian celebration with pagan origins held during Midsummer. In the 19th century Roman Catholics went on pilgrimages on the Midsummer Eve. Nowadays, the festival is more secular than religious. Following old traditions, Norwegians, light large bonfires which were believed to increase the lands' fertility as well as scare off witches who went out to gather herbs for poison.

Sankt Hans in Norway - Best Season

Girls gather seven different flowers and put them under the pillow in order to see their future husbands in a dream. Western Norway has also preserved the tradition of mock weddings, which are organized for children and adults and symbolize the birth of new life. But in general modern celebration is, first of all, another occasion for families and friends to gather out for a picnic, spend a joyful night close to nature, and enjoy the midnight sun.

Best time for Sankt Hans in Norway

The largest bonfire, known as Slinningsbålet, is usually set on a manmade island in Ålesund, a picturesque art nouveau town on the west coast of Norway. Every June, the adventurous ones come and stack hundreds of wooden pallets in the shape of a spire reaching 40 m into the sky. The tower is then burnt on the shortest night (June 23) from the top to the bottom. Lots of people enjoy watching it from the safe distance sitting in their boats or from the shore. Back in 2010 Alesund set a world record for hosting the tallest bonfire, 40.45 meters.

Norway
Check best times to visit
Norway