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"Lyskväll" What is it?

So on the last Saturday in August in Hälsingland along the Baltic coast people (we) put out hundreds of candles, get together and celebrate - but why and where did relatively new tradition come from?

It first was a celebration in Finland in the summer stuga areas. It was then that they would light candles around the area, eat up any food left after the summer and close up the summer houses (I prefer the word stuga) for the end of season ready for autumn and winter.

In Venice in 1575 they also celebrated in the same way of lighting candles and getting together to eat, but this time the celebration was the end of a pest plague. The tradition lived on and is sometimes referred to as "Veneziarisk afton" or "Venetian eve". To be honest I have never heard anyone mention this but from my research it is a thing.

Now lets get back to this weekend and how it came to Hälsingland. In 1990 Karl-Hjalmar Åker lined Borka Brygga with candles. Borka Brygga is an area about 10 minutes drive from Njutånger and is a very popular restaurant and guest harbour in the summer. So you could say it had the same purpose of seeing out the summer as in Finland.

This tradition has really taken off in Hälsingland and think it's rather special because it hasn't spread further.

At the end of winter we welcome spring with big fires - majbrasen - we gather we sing and celebrate the end of winter and look forwards to spring.

At midsummer we gather and sing and dance around the midsummer pole - "midsommarstång" and celebrate all that is green and the beginning of summer break for the children and a lot of adults too.

Then you come to the end of August; people and children start back at work/school. The evenings are already getting darker and there is a definite chill in the air. Its a time to meet up, eat and celebrate. A lot of the time you don't see your neighbours etc except during these gatherings. Its a time to laugh over what you did in the summer and set yourself ready for autumn and all that brings.

I noticed this year that the ladies I talked to on Saturday night were the same ones I had spoken to at the majbrasen and at midsummer. Such a feeling to realise that without these traditions I wouldn't know them at all.

And of course it is unbelievably beautiful to see all the fires and candles - in our case placed in the river that after the rain this summer is still so powerful and the candles lead all the way out to where the river meets the Baltic.

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