Christmas Traditions in Denmark. In Denmark we have both old and new traditions during advent and Christmas time. The traditions are of course different from family to family and so it has been for generations. From the end of October till beginning of November streets and shops get decorated and festoons are hung up across the shopping streets. Christmas trees with lots of lights and other colourful decorations also angels and pixies move into the shops especially in the shopwindows. On the first Advent Sunday'Father Christmas comes and he officially lights streets and trees. Parents and their children gather in streets and townsquares to call for Father Christmas and all his helpers. There is candy and sweets for everybody , and all people are happy and look forward to Christmas. At home a typical thing is an Advent decoration with four white candles and red strings, one for each Advent Sunday. The Advent decoration is hung up the same place every yeariit can also be placed on a table. All schools, senior homes and other intuitions have Advent decorations and people gather round them and sing Christmas songs. In our school we have the Advent decoration in the assembly hall and every Monday and Friday all pupils gather and sing songs and hymns. Often some pupils from different grades make and special performances with music and songs. Close to the 13th of December our school choir goes Lucia parade, a Swedish tradition, but it has for many years been practiced in Denmark, too. Lucia is a white dressed bride with a candle decoration on her head followed by a number of servants; they carry light into our homes during the dark wintertime. The last Friday close to the 1St of December we make Christmas decorations in school. We make decorations for classrooms and hallways and at the end of the day nobody doubts that Christmas time has come. Lots of children have Christmas calendars at home some of them even with chocolate behind the gates . The 24 gates help children count down to Christmas Eve. Calendars with 24 small presents have become more common both in schools and at home. Our 5th graders have a calendar in the classes. Each pupil gets that way a small present, they can bring the thing home or it can stay in the classroom if it is useful there. In TV we also have a Christmas Calendar year after year. Every evening from the 1st of December until the 24th of December they show a new episode, more or less exciting. There is one for the youngest kids, one for school kids and one for grown ups! The episodes are after that. Last schoolday before Christmas holydays we make ourselves comfortable with Christmas stories, music and songs and may be some games before we go to church together. We take the Christmas dekoration down and put it in boxes for next year or the students can take it home for their own rooms. After the ceremony which is a very comfortable and nice old tradition used by a lot of schools in Denmark, the school is closed. At one o'clock the staff meet for Christmas lunch. In private homes the families are busy baking Christmas cookies. It is still very common to bake your own cookies, cakes and bread especially for Christmas. Children are also busy writing lists with Christmas wishes. They give the lists to their parents or Santa Claus. In Denmark families buy a lot of presents just as all others do! The 23rd of December is called â€?Lille Juleaftenâ€? (Little Christmas Eve). It is the day where most families take in the Christmas tree and dekorate it with candles, globes of glass, hearts and stars of paper and some small baskets filled with sweets. When children are young most people tell them that Santa Claus has been there in the night. He dekorated the tree when they were asleep!. In the evening on the 24th of December we celebrate Christmas. A lot of families go to church late afternoon. About 6 o'clock families with small childrenhave dinner. In Denmark there are old
traditions concerning the food. The most common dinners are composed of goose, duck or turkey with white or sugar fried potatoes and red cabbage. The dessert is called ris ĂĄ la mande â€“ rice with whipped cream with sugar, vanilla and a lot of chopped almonds. At least we put in one whole almond in the dessert. The one who gets this almond gets a pig of marzipan or a small present! After dinner the families goes to the Christmas tree, the candles are lit and under the tree all the parcels are placed. Children and grown ups make a ring around the tree, and together they walk around singing Christmas songs and carols. Then it is time to get the presents. Later coffee and cookies are served. Children play with their new toys and everyone feel comfortable. The 25th and the 26th of December families meet with other families and friends for Christmas lunch, and spend some nice time together. The vey busy Christmas time ends at New Year the 31st of December. Again families are together with friends and celebrate the last day of the year. Also this evening we have traditions concerning the food, but it is different if you live in the south or in the north of Denmark. In the north they often eat fish, in the south where we live, we eat smoked saddle of pork with curly kale and potatoes. We dekorate our rooms with papercerpentines and confetti and sometimes we wear funny hats. At midnight there is a lot of fireworks and A New Year can begin. Our very famous fairytale teller H.C. Andersen has also written 2 Christmas fairytales. The Fir Tree and The Little Match Girl which I enclose this letter. Maybe you have time to read this fairytales for your students. The Danish team wish all of you A Merry Christmas and A Happy and Healthy New Year.
Published on May 13, 2010