In Denmark, Christmas starts with the 'advent', meaning 'coming', which refers to the coming of Christ. The association with the Almighty makes the festival closer to every Danish heart and a lot of customary traditions mark its celebration. There is an extended celebration with family and friends, with lots of fun and feasting. The lights are kept on throughout the festival, to spell out darkness with a burst of illumination. In Denmark, the custom of lighting candles on Christmas is much older than the celebration itself and reasons behind the warmth and coziness attached to it. Read this article to find more about the Christmas traditions in Denmark.
Christmas Celebrations In Denmark
Christmas celebrations in Denmark start on the first of December and continue for the whole month. The families put out their Christmas or Advent calendars that are either bought or homemade. There is a symbol for each day, which is revealed through a window or hook on every day basis. The symbols include cookies, chocolate, toys, candles etc and can have wrapped gifts attached to them, particularly in homemade calendars. A candle is lit on each Sunday of the festival, with four candles on the last Sunday. The candles can either be hung or placed on the dinner table.
The major celebration of Christmas in Denmark is on the Christmas Eve; however the day before i.e. December 23 is the busiest. The home is cleaned, gifts wrapped and Christmas tree decorated. Often known as Lille Juleaften (Little Christmas), it is the best time for family and friends get together. The dinner on Christmas Eve, December 24, begins with rice pudding, with a hidden almond inside and the one who finds it wins a prize. Danish people then have goose, red cabbage and browned potatoes. Cakes and pastries are also a part of the dinner platter. Families gather around Christmas tree and carols are sung and gifts are exchanged.
In Denmark, there is a popular notion associated with Christmas Eve that a mischievous elf called Nisse can have his fun at this point of time. He lives in the old lofts of the farmhouses and loves cracking jokes. He is extremely good to children and is kind and helpful on farms. On Christmas Eve, a bowl of rice pudding or porridge is left for him to keep his jokes within limits. The celebration on December 25 is a little subtle and confined within close friends and family members. Danish people wish each other Glaedelig Jul (Merry Christmas in Danish) and celebrate the day by having a lot of cold cuts and different types of fish, as a part of festive meal. While December 25 is usually spent celebrating with family members, December 26 is meant for relaxing.