Celebrating Midsummer - Margit's Story

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Open! Open! Open!

Please! Please! Please!

All the demanding and pleading I have done these past few days have been to no avail. This little pea flower refuses to open in time for Midsummer. It is probably waiting for something called sunshine!

I have a whole garden bursting with blossoms - why do I care so much about my sweet peas?

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Because my sweet peas were supposed to create a lovely tripod in full bloom like this one used in Svaneke, Denmark to celebrate Midsummer!

My friend Margit lives on the Danish island of Bornholm in the village of Svaneke where they celebrate Midsummer as do most people of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. But they have a unique celebration in Svaneke. Beautiful little flower covered "wells" like the one above pop up on the city streets. The small "wells" in the bottom - bowls filled with water and sprinkled with rose petals - are filled with coins, left throughout the day by friends and neighbors. The money is left for the children.

I found this custom charming, and beautiful and I have built a version of a Kildefest Well in my garden in honor of my friend Margit.

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Here it is soon after planting - I thought sweet peas would climb and twist around the supports and create a "living" well. (I don't have the heart to cut so many flowers as would be necessary to cover the supports).

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It quickly became apparent that I had grossly underestimated the length of the supports I would need. Five foot tomato stakes to the rescue!

And then I waited.

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And waited, and watered, and waited, and pleaded, and waited, and fertilized.....

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But here it is - Midsummer's Eve and still no blossoms open! The vines did make it up to the star tree topper I put on the top to hide the stakes.

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I have placed a small hand thrown pottery bowl at the base to serve as a "well". Margit's husband was a potter in Svaneke and so I felt it especially appropriate that I use a bowl hand thrown by my MIL.

I can't share the pictures I planned - you know - of my fabulous flower covered well. So, I will share a few recent favorite images from my garden to share Margit's delightful and charming story of Midsummer celebrations in Denmark and in her village of Svaneke.

So - here in Margit's own words - Midsummer!

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"Midsummer in Denmark is always celebrated in the evening by lighting a huge bonfire. Everyone gathers to share good food, good company and merriment.

The beautiful little flower covered wells - that is a special tradition in Svaneke."

(Sacred, mysterious wells have been a part of human cultures at least as far back as the Celtic tribes - which it is believed, originated somewhere near what is now Denmark and migrated throughout Europe.)

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"Some of the old wells still exist in Denmark.

Outside Copenhagen, there is a well in a forest. It is told, that a very modest girl was lost in the forest. She prayed to God and then a little well sprang up from the ground, she followed the stream, and came out of the forest.

The well got the reputation that it could cure diseases, and then came a culture around the well. Places where people could eat and drink beer were opened, all kinds of jugglers and entertainers came to the place in the summer.

It was believed that the sacred wells had most power in Midsummer night, and lots of people gathered around them and slept in the open after drinking the water.

The place still exists, it is a little like Coney Island. The well was named after the woman, Kirsten Pihl and now the place is called Kirsten Pihls kilde."

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"In Svaneke, there was a holy well, but it disappeared after a flood. It is still there but only with a very little water.

The people of Svaneke built a symbolic well at the other end of town to continue to celebrate Midsummer Eve. The well is now a tub of water with flower decorations around it. People throw coins into the water and the money is given to young children for new clothing to wear during their confirmation in the church.

The young ones make the flower decorations, going out into the forest early in the morning to collect the greens and flowers.

Around the well there are tents where they sell Aebleskiver, icecream, sausages and beer. Midsummer's Eve is a big feast.

When it gets dark, all gather around the big bonfire and sing traditional Midsummer songs. The children buy torches, walk through the town and light the bonfire."

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"Small wells are built by children and their parents on the street outside their homes. They put a little bowl with water and rose petals under it, and people who are passing throw coins into them. The coins are for the children.

The tradition is connected to Svaneke, but does occur in a few small towns nearby as well."

Thank you, Margit, for taking the time and effort to write the story in English so that I could share it here.

As soon as my well is in bloom - you will be the first to know!

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For now, I leave you with a picture of the lovely hanging baskets my sweetie planted for me. They had no problem blooming for the celebration!

Happy Midsummer!

Thank you for sharing such

Thank you for sharing such wonderful pic and stories. I love to read comments, share pics, from the world around us, they make me happy.

what a lovely midsummer well

what a lovely midsummer well you have made, it helps me to think of the upcomming spring to make plans for my new big balcony. thank you for the sharing;-D

These photos are so amazing.

These photos are so amazing. Thank you for sharing all of them. It always amazes me that you get so much done. I'm visiting out of twon, but I had to come here while everyone was still sleeping and see what you're doing!
xo

p.s. there are no comments enabled on the Jerusalem post, just so you know...

Thank you for sharing this

Thank you for sharing this lovely Midsummer tradition they have in Denmark, Pam. :-D (And thank you to Margit, of course. :) ) I really wish to visit this country, one day, so I found this information to be very interesting.

It's too bad that your flowers didn't blossomed on time for your own homemade wells. Let's cross fingers it will do so, very soon! (After all, summer's here and we need more flowers! :-) )

I think I'll join in and start this tradition for next year's midsummer! :-D I've been looking for way to celebrate the different solstices during the year, and I really love this one. I'm defenetely writing this down.

Much hugs! :-)

What a gorgeous garden! The

What a gorgeous garden! The well looks fabulous despite the sweet peas not cooperating. You've inspired me to celebrate midsummer next year- perhaps we'll have a party that culminates with a bonfire. My wheels are definitely turning on this one!

I've had trouble getting out

I've had trouble getting out of bed to face the day sometimes, but now your blog is the first thing I think about on waking, so I have my cup of tea and toast with you (so to speak) reading your blog first, then I move onto others. I adore sweetpeas and have had the odd successful crop. Naturally, not to be left out - when it comes time to plant these babies (around March here) I'm going try and bring some of the Denmark tradition into my Aussie garden.

I can always count on you to

I can always count on you to bring such beauty and fun! My Dad just emailed all of us with a picture of a bonfire and said we will be celebrating that way next year! He always talks about how today is celebrated in Denmark. It sounds like so much fun. I had not seen this tradition with the flowers and I LOVE it. I think I will make my own version next year! Thanks, as always, for the inspiration, Pam!!

Your Friend,
Rebecca

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