"Maaki di biiki ön."

"Maaki di biiki ön." (Frisian for "Light the beacon", traditional ending of "Biikebrennen" addresses on the Island of Sylt)

21 February: Today in Northern Frisia, communities on the Halligen, the islands and on the coast of the North Sea celebrate the Biikebrennen, a traditional folk festival, that once ended the time between Martini (St Martin's Day, November 11th) and Petri Stuhlfeier (Feast of the Chair of St Peter at Antioch), that the Hanse, the Hanseatic League, had declared innavigable.

When the great days of the Hanse were over, the Biikebrennen saw the whalers off when they left their homes to hunt bowheads on the coast of Greenland. But the tradition is much older and probably symbolises much like the Imbolc and Easter fires the end of winter and, among the old Frisians before the Christian missionaries came, to honour Thor and Freyr.

Today, old christmas trees and floral arrangements are burnt in the Biikebrennen, but some communities still burn straw men called Petermännchen (little St Peters) that might symbolise the Pope in Rome.

The picture above, a Biikebrennen on the island of Sylt, was found on