Glædelig jul fra Danmark! | Merry Christmas from Denmark!
It’s almost Christmas! And for our last feature country we’re going to the happiest country in the world; Denmark! Here to tell us all about it is French-Danish blogger Sophie of Sophie Voisin, a fellow Paris resident and Spain lover!
Hello! Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about where you are from!
Hello! My name is Sophie and I’m a 20 year old girl from Denmark. I grew up in southern Denmark in a lovely, little town close to the sea and with lots of stuff to do all year round. Denmark is a small country with a lot of traditions, especially a lot of Christmas traditions.
How is Christmas traditionally celebrated in your country? Are there any strange or funny traditions?
The festivities start in the beginning of December, when the Christmas lights are lit in most towns and the ‘Christmas Calendars’ on TV begin. Christmas Calendars are Danish TV-shows that are shown on most of the big TV channels and features 24 episodes, counting down till Christmas eve. Most of them are about ‘saving Christmas’ in sort sort of way and are made for children of all ages. A lot of children also get a little gift every day of December or on Sundays throughout the month.
We love eating and drinking in Denmark and have a strong tradition of “Christmas lunches” which is actually a dinner party with lots of food and alcohol. It’s normal to have these parties with colleagues, friends and family throughout December. Christmas is celebrated on the 24th when we eat with our families, give each other presents and dance around the Christmas tree. No, the tree is not only for decoration – we dance around it while singing Christmas songs! There are a few traditional dinners, and it varies what people eat, but one thing most people can agree on is the dessert Ris a la mande. It’s a sort of cold rice pudding with almonds served with warm cherry sauce. In the dessert there is only one whole almond and the person who finds it wins a present. Presents are opened on the 24th, before or after the dinner and dancing around the tree. We also have a game called ‘Pakkeleg‘ It’s a game where each player brings a small gift and you then have to win the most presents by getting a 6 on the dice and stealing gifts from the other players. It’s usually super fun but it can bring out the worst in people!
What is your favourite Christmas food and why?
As a vegetarian there are a lot of traditional Christmas foods I don’t eat, but I love the desserts! We have a lot of biscuits such as ‘pebernødder‘ (peppernuts) and ‘brunkager‘ (brown cakes) that are eaten throughout the month. I also love potatoes with (vegetarian) gravy and a ‘Elf beer‘ which is a sweet beer without alcohol, usually served with warm rice porridge with canel and butter.
What would you recommend visitors to your country do during the festive season?
Try all the desserts! See if you can get invited to a Christmas party with Danes, they are the best parties. Enjoy the Christmas lights and watch the trees get lit in the beginning of December. Drink some glögg, which is a type of mulled wine. If there’s snow, a lot of people bring out there sleds or ice skates – join in on the fun! And remember that is cold in Denmark during Christmas time, so bring a lot of layers.
Finally, what are you most looking forward to about Christmas this year?
I spent last Christmas in Paris, so I am mostly looking forward to spending this Christmas with my family and friends.