Danish traditions at Christmas and New Year

Beer, games and jumping of chairs – Danish traditions aren’t boring. Learn more about the Danish Christmas and New Year’s traditions.

Traditions are a strange lot. For those who are used to them it might be the most natural and important part of their lives and culture. However, for newcomers the traditions might seem very strange. There are a lot of Danish traditions which foreigners might think are strange. Get to know more about Danish traditions here.


Read this text in Danish here


Christmas starts in November

The Danish traditions are mainly connected with different holidays – especially Christmas. Santa Claus, Christmas lights, and angles are associated with Christmas all over the world, however, in Denmark there are some traditions that are only found in this small country. Worth to mention is, that Christmas for many people start the first Friday in November every year, where the Danish brewery, Carlsberg, starts selling their Tuborg Christmas beer. The day is also known as J-dag, a very important day for many😊 


If you aren’t Danish, it might be strange to see Danish pubs and streets decorated with blue colours which matches this special Christmas beer.


The Danes loves to party

To decorate and party are two things the Danes love – especially in December. For example, at many city squares in Denmark a huge Christmas three is to be found throughout December. Almost every workplace, high school class, family, and group of friends have a yearly Danish Christmas lunch with herring and schnaps. The Christmas lunch is one of the traditions the Danes likes the most. At many Christmas lunches the Danes will play a lot of games. One of these games is ‘pakkeleg’, where you play to win presents by throwing dice. 


Countdown for Christmas eve.

A recurring tradition, which is very important for the Christmas in Denmark, is a show in Danish TV. Every year the Danish TV-channels show an advent tv-show with 24 episodes from December 1st to December 24th. The TV-shows are often for children, however, there are also shows for adults as well. 


Calendar lights are also a tradition in many Danish homes. The Calendar light is a candlelight with numbers from 1 to 24. Every day you light the candle, and on December 24th all the numbers will have been burnt through. A lot of parents also have calendar gifts for their children, one present every day, or one every Sunday, until Christmas. 


The queen and jumping of chairs.

The Danes are busy partying in December. Just after Christmas it is New Year’s Eve. In Denmark, that is a night where a lot of people dress up, drink champagne, and celebrate with fireworks. 


There are a lot of Danish traditions both at Christmas and New Year. For instance, a lot of Danes will begin New Year’s Eve at 6pm where Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe gives her New Year’s speech. The speech is shown on TV and broadcasted on the radio and is always about the year that has past and her best wishes for the Danish people living all over the world. Finally, when the clock turns midnight a lot Danes are jumping of chairs as a way of entering the new year.   


So, you see there are many Danish traditions around Christmas and New Year’s. And these were only some of them!