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CELEBRATING DANISHLY Regardless of your age, celebrating birthdays in Denmark is often a very festive occasion. With giant pepper grinders, a trail of cinnamon and Danish flags being just three things to watch out for. PHOTOGRAPHS KERI BLOOMFIELD / ISTOCKPHOTO

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COMING FROM A country with a few flag identity issues (New Zealand recently spent around NZ$20 million on a referendum discussing if they should change it), I found it fascinating moving to Denmark and seeing how much the Danes use and love their flag. Especially when celebrating birthdays. The flag is often the first clue that someone is having a birthday, with small flagpoles being a common sight in most workplaces and schools. But the flag is just the tip of the iceberg. The Danes over the years have created a lengthy, somewhat unofficial, but still closely followed list, of how a birthday should typically be celebrated. So, if you’d like to celebrate your next birthday like a Dane, or if you want to just be prepared before attending a Danish birthday party (either for yourself or your children) then I hope this will help:

#1 THE DANISH FLAG As with most other moments of celebration in Denmark the Danish flag takes centre stage when celebrating birthdays. So, forget hanging balloons and instead get yourself a bulk pack of Danish flags from your local supermarket. Place them outside your home lining the path, on your door, on your cake. Everywhere. Overall, the more flags the better.

#2 THE CAKE There are typically three types of birthday cakes commonly used, with the one chosen normally being dependent on where in Denmark you come from. The first is a ‘Lagekage’ (Layer cake) which is normally chosen by those living in Zealand, it is a layered cake of cream, raspberry jam and a type of sponge cake. Alternatively, for those hailing from Fyn, you’d possibly have a ‘Brunsviger’ cake, with a spongy cake bottom and a whole lot of brown sugar on the top. And for the little people, it is common to have a Kagemand (Cake man). Shaped like a man (or woman) these can be ordered from your local bakery. Whichever cake you decide on, it then needs to be decorated. For most, that means placing as many little Danish flags in the cake as possible, as well as a few from your other home country if you are an International.

#3 TILLYKKE Tillykke (congratulations) and Tillykke med fød-

MARCH 2019 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM

TEXT KERI BLOOMFIELD

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