Gammelgaard

Gammelgaard
Gammelgaard, where my grandmother and then my mother, ran the household and where I grew up. (Father's side)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Pinse"; See the Dancing Pentecost-Sun! (Bucket-list MUST!)

The ancient Oaks greet the dancing Pentecost-Sun

Pentecost-Sun dances over the hazy morning meadow


      Whit Sunday or Pentecost, "Pinse" in Denmark, is always 50 days after Easter, In 2013 it will be on May 19th. (Pentecost comes from the Greek word "Pentecoste", which means fiftieth.)
Pentecost-sun dances over my childhood home, Gammelgaard

More ancient oaks greet the dancing sun after my friends' wedding.
       Another party-excuse for us fun-loving Danes; where we either party all night to see the Pentecost-Sun dance in the wee morning hours, or we pack the picnic basket and venture on a "hike". Originally people were in their Sunday Best, so the hike wasn't as much for the exercise as it was to show off the new garbs and socialize with friends and neighbors. There are old descriptions in letters of the anticipation of wearing the fine new clothes; of how neatly they were laid out the night before in preparation of the picnic the following day.
       Following a very old tradition from the country-side called "summer-in-town", people would sometimes bring home fresh branches from the very Danish Beech tree, in order to mark the arrival of summer.


From "Illustreret Tidende", 1874. People returning fromPentecost picnic wearing their newset spring attire. One man raises Beech branches in the air. Two other men may have imbibed a bit much.  
MY PENTECOST IMPRESSIONS THROUGH FOUR DECADES:

       It's the seventies, I am thrilled to have the day off from school. As soon as breakfast is gulped down, I am on my way; paying no attention to the sun, dancing or otherwise, (wearing the same jodhpurs and the same "play" t-shirt I have worn for the past three days, because the horse-smell on your pants is just about the most wonderful smell in the world when you are a horse-fanatic and because you just don't generate much body odor when you are a pre-teen) I will spend the day with my pony and my riding friends, we are going all the way out to the big forest today; it is a long ride along the creek just to get there, and we will bring a snack.

       It is the eighties, I have been up all night dancing at the local discoteque; I am sitting in a car with my best friend looking out of the front window; hoping to see the Pentecost-Sun dance above the sand dunes that show the way to the beach just beyond them. We are enjoying the freshly baked breakfast buns we just picked up from the backdoor of the local bakery and washing the delights down with cocoa-milk ("Mathilde") straight out of the carton. This year however the sun is having a hard time dispersing the cool morning fog and there is little chance we will be available to enjoy a picnic lunch.

       It's the nineties, I have been up all night celebrating my best friend's wedding, and I am driving home. The Pentecost-Sun dances merrily through the ancient oak trees I pass, in the most glorious display I have ever witnessed, surely in honor of my best friend's wedding.


        It's the oo's,  we have been up all night celebrating my youngest brother and his new bride's lovely wedding on their farm in Sealand Denmark. The Pentecost-Sun escorts us to bed as we leave the festive party tent with happy voices and tired feet. The sun dances through the trees that surround their garden, and promises to keep the dancing going while we catch a few hours sleep before the big breakfast for everybody.

       You don't have to be Christian to enjoy a day off. Most people regardless of faith have a quite clear understanding of both Christmas and Easter, but when it comes to Pentecost it gets a bit blurry. Christian or not, often when people hear the words: Holy Sprit, they simply tune out, thinking it is way too deep. But if one ponders it for even less than a moment, one realizes that we use that word all the time. "That's the Spirit!", "The Spirit came over me", "...in the same Spirit..."---The concept really isn't that foreign to us regardless of faith.

       After Christmas and Easter, Pentecost is the third most holy day in the church year. It signifies the arrival of the Holy spirit which continued the message and community that had surrounded Christ before his death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit came with the wind and spread about little tongues of flames of enlightenment thus created all different languages to communicate God's message of hope and love throughout the world; a reason why this day is also called the Church's birthday.

     The dancing sun-part originated from elsewhere in Europe where it used to be an Easter event; but like so many other traditions, this one twirled around until it settled where it found a fit. Isn't it curious to observe the dancing Pentecost-Sun through the decades?

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