Some of you will know that I am a Dane living in Copenhagen, and while there are some non-speaking English or non-European bloggers out there I thought I'd post about a typical Danish Christmas. But before I do that I will post a little about our Advent-tradition. In Denmark (as well as other countries) we have a special Advent-wreath. It can be made of metal, straw, dough, clay and many other materials, but traditionally it is made of the same kind of tree as a Christmas tree (and I cannot remember the English name for that kinda tree on top of my head right now. HELP). The wreath has 4 candles and the first Sunday in Advent (which was this past Sunday), you light one candle. Next Sunday you light two and so forth. I do not have an Advent-wreath myself, but my parents always have one. The image is from a Dutch site, so I guess they also have this tradition i Holland at least.
In Denmark we celebrate Christmas on the evening of the 24th. We live in a dark place when it is winter, but a few days before Christmas, the almanac shows that it is the Winter Solstice and from that day on, the days are getting longer again. So, Christmas used to be a pagan Winter Solstice Celebration. The image below is from my own photo-collection and is shot last year on the morning after Winter Solstice the 23rd of December outside my parent's place. They do not live in Copenhagen.
Last image is our nativity-scene (I think that is what it is called in English) which is at least 40 years old and lots of things has gone missing over the years. There used to be some more animals and also, the angels surrounding the scene are not originally from the set. But I guess we have the most important persons as we still have Baby Jesus, Virgin Mary, Joseph and the Three Wise Men.
We decorate the tree with birds, glass balls, paper drums, stars, lights, flags and many other kinds of decorations. The kid in the picture is my nephew August searching for candy, which is traditonally hidden in some of the decoration. You hide (guess it is not really hidden, as everyone knows where to find it from about age 1) the candy in small pouches which can be shaped like hearts among other things.
The tree has a star on top, which I hope you can see, symbolizing the leading star of the Three Wise Men.
After dinner we sing carols and psalms while walking around the tree and then it is time for presents. We put the presents either underneath the tree or beside the tree. In our family we always put the presents beside the tree. The look of the traditional Danish Christmas tree is a look we got from Germany little more than 100 years ago. Many families add their own touch of course and over the years the traditional things to hang on the tree has changed and developed. We used to have real candles on our tree, but after my mother sort of got allergic to the smoke from candles, we switched to artificial lights. I still think that real candles on the tree is how it should be though.
Being from a family of non-practising Protestants, we do not go to church for Christmas, but there are always at least one Christmas mass in almost each and every church in Denmark. Everybody seems to think that even though they don't go to church the rest of the year, they go for Christmas (personally I think it is a wee bit hypocritical, but that is something for another post and I myself is probably also a hypocrite in many other ways regarding Christmas). The image below of the village church at my parent's place was shot some years ago a few days after Christmas. Unfortunately, we never really have a white Christmas in Denmark. We rarely have snow until January. But that year it did snow heavily a few days after the 24th. At the point where I shot the image, the blizzard hadn't hit yet. The little church is almost (but not quite) Medieval.Chrismas dinner in Denmark is traditionally roast duck, roast goose or pork-roast. Some families serve two of the dishes, for instance both a roast duck and a pork-roast. The roast/bird is served with apples and plums, which has been used as stuffing (in the bird), potatoes and gravy and pickled red cabbage. After dinner we have a special almond and rice pudding, wherein there is one whole almond hidden. The person who finds the whole almond wins a little present, which is often chocolate, a marcipane-pig or a trinket. In families with kids, it is tradition to make sure that there are as many whole almonds as there are small kids and then making sure that the kids each get a whole almond so no kids end up crying. Last year we decided to skip the whole bird and served roasted duck-breasts instead. And we made the stuffing with onion, apple and bacon which we placed underneath the breasts when they were put in the oven. That is what is on my plate below.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL.