Christmas in Denmark embodies the spirit of joy and enthusiasm to the maximum. As December approaches, every house and street is lit up with colourful lights, so much so that it neutralizes the effect of a dull winter. Most Danes believe that Christmas is about carols and songs, the aroma of spruce, oranges and freshly baked cookies. One of the city's oldest traditions is being adorned with thousands of candles to create an atmosphere of warmth, togetherness, relaxation and love. Usually, every store and street is elaborately decorated with green, red or white paper hearts, since this is the Danish symbol during Christmas. Again, even houses and dinner tables are ornamented with lights and hearts. Christmas cookies and balls of dough are made for both the children and adults. Read on to learn more about the customs and traditions of Christmas in Denmark.
Danish Christmas Customs
In Denmark, Christmas starts with the Advent or the 'coming'. Churches celebrate this day with special services; certain families make wreathes of evergreen boughs and surrounded by four tall red and white candles. This is hung over the dining table, as part of tradition.
Celebrating Little Christmas
December 23rd is popularly is known as 'Lille Juleaften' or 'Little Christmas Eve', in Denmark. On this day, families and friends get together and relish a cup of hot glogg or mulled wine, which is basically wine, boiled with nuts, raisins and spices. On the other hand, kids enjoy doughnuts with icing sugars and jams. Gifts are exchanged on this festive day.
The most festive day in the Danish holiday calendar is Christmas Eve. People attend church services at 4 in the evening to hear Christmas stories. Dinner is usually served immediately after sunset.
In Denmark, this meal begins with a rice pudding containing one almond. The first person who finds this hidden nut is rewarded. Other dishes are goose, red cabbage, browned potatoes, followed by cakes and pastries with cherry sauce.
A very absurd tradition in Denmark is decoration of the tree without the knowledge of the children! On Christmas Eve, the fully lit-up tree is revealed to the younger generation. Family members gather around it to sing hymns and carols in praise of the Lord. One child is chosen to select wrapped gifts, which are placed under the Christmas tree, and hand them over to respective the members of the family.
Christmas Day is spent quietly in Denmark, in the company of family members and friends. The lunch includes dishes made of cold cuts and various types of fish, along with aquavit for adults.
Sharing and caring plays a large part in terms of holiday cheer in Denmark. It is believed that a visitor must not be allowed to leave a house without tasting any of the dishes prepared by them.
Danish Elf, Nisse
Another story in Denmark revolves around the mischievous Danish elf, Nisse, who is known to play pranks on people. Living on a farmhouse and wearing gray woollen clothes, this elf is generally good to people but plays practical jokes on them during Christmas. Many people leave a bowl of rice pudding or porridge outside, so that he doesn't trouble them.
Christmas is one of the most popular festivals in Denmark, symbolizing the spirit of love and joy.
Christmas in Denmark is accompanied by several Danish Christmas customs and Christmas Eve traditions. Read on to find out more!