Christmas in Denmark is a special and festive time of the year, marked by various traditions and customs. Here's how Christmas is typically celebrated in Denmark:
The Christmas season in Denmark officially begins on the first Sunday of Advent, which is usually the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Families often light an Advent wreath with four candles, lighting one candle on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.
Danish homes are beautifully decorated for the holiday season. You'll find Christmas trees, wreaths, and ornaments in many homes, along with candles and lights in windows to create a cozy and festive atmosphere.
Danish cities and towns host Christmas markets (Julemarkeder) in the weeks leading up to Christmas. These markets offer a variety of holiday foods, drinks, crafts, and gifts.
Danish Christmas cuisine is a significant part of the celebrations. One of the most famous Christmas dishes is "risengrød," a rice pudding served with a sweet cherry or berry sauce. Another popular dish is "æbleskiver," which are small, round, pancake-like pastries, often served with powdered sugar and jam. Roast pork, duck, or goose is a common choice for the Christmas Eve dinner, accompanied by a variety of side dishes.
In Denmark, the primary day of Christmas celebration is December 24th. This is when most families come together to celebrate. A traditional Christmas Eve dinner is served, often followed by the exchange of gifts.
After dinner on Christmas Eve, it's common for Danish families to dance around the Christmas tree while singing Christmas carols. This is a cherished tradition, and the tree is often adorned with candles and ornaments.
The "Nisse" is a mythological creature in Danish folklore similar to a gnome or elf. It's believed that Nisser play tricks and bring gifts during the Christmas season. Some families leave a bowl of rice pudding or porridge out for the Nisse as a gesture of goodwill.
Many Danes attend a church service on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Christmas music is an essential part of the season in Denmark. Traditional Danish carols and hymns are sung and played throughout December.
It's a common tradition in Denmark to fly the Danish flag (Dannebrog) during the Christmas season. The flagpole may be adorned with a Christmas wreath, and the flag is often raised on Christmas morning.
December 25th and 26th are also considered part of the Christmas celebration, with more gatherings, meals, and activities.
Overall, Christmas in Denmark is a time of togetherness, warmth, and traditional customs that create a sense of hygge (coziness). It's a special time for family and friends to come together, celebrate, and enjoy the festive spirit of the season.
In Denmark, the Christmas celebrations begin with Advent. In each Sunday in Advent, each one of the four candles are lit on the Advent wreath, that is traditionally made here out of fine spruce twigs and cuttings. On each Sunday in Advent, guests are invited to join in the lighting of the candles on the Advent crown. Drinks are kept for all, though alcoholic beverages are strictly for adults who usually have a warming mixture of red wine, spices and raisins. Kids may drink the juice of some sweet fruit, such as strawberry. Also kept are small cakes of batter usually baked in special pans, and dusted with icing sugar. This is something that everybody loves to have.
In the weeks leading to the Christmas Eve, Danish families set up Christmas trees in their homes and decorate them in the most beautiful manner. The trees, commonly spruce, are usually decorated with a silver or gold star on the top (never an angel), national flags, cornets with fruit, candies or cookies, small toy music instruments, tin foil strips and the like. Children help their parents in decorating the Christmas tree and also the interiors.
Here, the main Christmas celebration is on December 24(Christmas Eve). But the festive atmosphere is quite apparent even on the day before, i.e 23rd December. In Denmark, this day is popularly called "Lille Juleaften" (Little Christmas Eve) and is a time for family get-togethers and meeting with friends.
Adults relish a cup of hot glögg (hot wine boiled with raisins, nuts and spices) while children munch on “æbleskiver” (a special kind of doughnut with icing sugar, jam or maple syrup). The "Lille Juleaften" menu typically includes the delicious “risengrod” (rice boiled with milk and cinnamon) and “hvidtol” (malt beer). Gifts are often exchanged on this day.
On Christmas Eve, the get-togethers continue and so does the feasting. Cookies and hot chocolate are lapped up by kids while adults pour glogg down their throats. One of the main attractions of Christmas Eve is the lighting of the Christmas tree. The Christmas Eve dinner traditionally includes such dishes as
roast pork, roast duck or roast goose with potatoes, red cabbage and gravy. Dessert is usually rice pudding served with a cherry sauce. Traditionally, an almond is hidden inside the dessert which one has to find to recieve a small gift. The meal over, family members gather around the Christmas tree to sing Christmas carols and dance hand in hand around the tree. Then one of the assembled children is chosen to select the wrapped presents, that are already kept under the Christmas tree, and hand them over to the other family members - one at a time - so that everyone may have the pleasure of watching what the others got.
Christmas Day (December 25th) is a rather quiet time and is usually a day to be spent in the company of close friends and family members. The Christmas lunch typically includes dishes consisting of cold cuts and different types of fish, along with Aquavit for the adults. Everyone wishes "Glaedelig Jul"(Merry Christmas in Danish) to each other on Christmas Day.