I love you Guy Fawkes. Always have, always will. Your timing was impeccable. Sure, it wasn’t spot on when you got caught red-handed underneath the British parliament guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder. I’m not sure they would have gone anywhere. But at least you had the good sense to try and blow it up on November 5. A cold day. Are you listening to me Denmark: a big fire on a cold day, not in the middle of summer (a choice of venues to celebrate this Saturday’s Sankt Hans Aften).
Or so I thought. Turns out we got lucky in Britain as Fawkes and his conspirators had to push back their plans after the opening of parliament got postponed due to an outbreak of plague. The original detonation date was July 20 – how utterly selfish of them.
But his capture and disembowelment was our blessing. November is a decidedly chilly month in which the prospect of being flayed alive by a raging inferno is actually quite appealing. Then again, nobody’s forcing you to go as close to the fire as is humanly possible (like they used to at my school).
In Denmark, it’s all very civilised: a step forward for a country that only lynched its last witch in 1897. These days she isn’t even killed, but dispatched to Germany to attend a convention. And there are patriotic songs, often with hundreds of verses.
So, while we’ve provided you with a list of venues to mark the occasion, the best places to sample the hygge of the evening are the private communal gardens, small villages etc. Start dropping hints to your Danish colleagues about the lack of decent parties in your neighbourhood. But if you are caught gate-crashing, you’re on your own.
Elsewhere this week, venture outside the city into darkest Zealand to the Dark Ages where you have a choice between Viking Days in Frederikksund or the Esrum Medieval Market. There will no doubt be horses involved, but no thoroughbreds as they’ll all be attending the Danish Derby meeting.
All in all, it promises to be a cracking weekend. Just don’t lose your head like Sankt Hans or poor old Guy.