Danish traditions at Christmas and New Year

Beer, games and jumping from chairs – Danish traditions aren’t boring.

Traditions can be a strange thing. For those who are brought up with the traditions it is a natural part of the culture and life. However if you are not a Dane, a lot of the Danish traditions might seem strange. 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.


⭐ Christmas starts in November

The Danish traditions are mainly connected with different holidays – especially Christmas. Worth to mention is, that Christmas for many people begins 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. At that day you will find many cheerfull people in the streets😊 


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 tree with a lot of lights is to be found throughout December. Almost every workplace, 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 a 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-serie for children and adults with 24 episodes from December 1st to December 24th.


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. A lot of parents also have calendar gifts for their children, one present for each day, or one every Sunday, until Christmas. 


⭐  The queen and jumping from chairs.

After Christmas comes New Year’s Eve. In Denmark, we dress up, maybe with hats, parties with friends, drink champagne, and celebrates with fireworks. 


The evening begins with the New Year’s speech from Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe the 2nd. The speech is shown on TV and broadcasted on the radio and is a summary from the year that has past and her best wishes for the Danish people all around the world. Finally, when the clock turns midnight a lot of Danes are jumping from chairs to enter the new year, drinking champagne, eating wreath cake and goes outside to light their own fireworks.   


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


Read in Danish here