Denmark’s Christmas Traditions

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Photo Courtesy of Frederik Peterson

Photo Courtesy of Frederik Petersen

Not all countries celebrate Christmas on December 25, and Denmark is one of them. For Danes, holiday traditions are things such as new TV shows, burning candles, and jumping off furniture to get into the New Year.

Christmas in Denmark starts as soon as December 1 hits. TV stations start broadcasting their Christmas calendar. These calendars are like TV shows where the audience has to watch every episode in order to know what is going on.

Danes buy candles with numbers on them from one to 24. These numbers each represent one day in December, and the point is that families should light up the candle and burn down one number for every day.

On Christmas day, after going to church, families get together and start preparing the traditional Christmas dinner, which is flaeskesteg, a Danish version of roast pork. Dinner also includes caramelized and regular potatoes, red cabbage, as well as brown sauce.

Once dinner has been eaten, people start dancing around their Christmas tree while singing songs. After singing and dancing, the presents are opened. Usually, this takes place sometime at night, but some families do it earlier if they have small kids.

December 25 and 26 are called First and Second Christmas day. On these days, Christmas lunches are served. For the Christmas lunches, there is traditional food that is always served. The dessert is fruit salad with a lot of different fruits chopped into small pieces covered with chocolate chunks and whipped cream with vanilla flavor. For the adults, a special Christmas edition of the classic beer, Tuborg, is served. Snaps is served as the hard liquor. This is a small shot of a strong alcoholic beverage typically served during holiday meals such as Midsummer, Easter, and Christmas.

For New Year’s, the tradition is to watch the annual speech from the queen and watch the British comedy sketch called “Dinner for One” – this was released in 1963 and has been aired in Denmark since 1973. At midnight, people jump off a chair, couch, or jump over a line and jump into the New Year. After landing in the New Year, champagne and cringle cake are served.

On January 1, pizza houses and other fast food restaurants are very busy – most people buy food from them because they are hung over and don’t want to cook themselves. This is the busiest day for almost every fast food company in Denmark.

Frederik Petersen is from Denmark. He is majoring in Journalism. After Snow, he will go back to Denmark to study German so he can get a Journalism Education. His dream job is either to work at one of the newspapers in Denmark or to work at a TV Station. Frederik speaks 3 languages (English, German, and Danish.)

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