I am one of the many German students studying abroad. I am one of the people who love travelling. I can't sit still, I always have to do stuff. I am curious, always chasing for stories. Stay here for a while and be part of my respaced world

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Danish Winter and Christmas

I went downtown today, in order to do some shopping. It was so Christmas-y, the first snow had fallen the night before and in the city you could smell the scent of sugar roasted almonds on almost every street corner. On the bridge over the canal they had set up some stands were they sold glöck, that’s punch (Glühwein) and other sweets, candels, just stuff people buy on Christmas markets. However, they were only a few stands, so it was just a nice atmosphere. It wasn’t like a big Christmas market as they have them in Germany.

But how do Danes celebrate Christmas? This is what I will figure out in the next 4 weeks. The Danish Christmas season already started 2 weeks ago with the release of the Christmas beer. On J-Day (The J derives from the Danish word Jule, which means Christmas) everyone in Denmark is excited and gets drunk.

Nice thing, national holiday shape a culture, Americans have Halloween and Thanksgiving, Germans have St. Nikolaus, why not J-Day? On campus there were parties in most of the canteens, already starting at 4pm. In the city every bar was crowded. People were wearing blue Christmas huts, singing and dancing to Christmas songs, Tuborg (a traditional Danish brewery company) trucks were driving through town, giving out Christmas beer and blue hats. It reminded me pretty much of the advertisement concept of Coca Cola: Truck, Christmas, only Blue (Tuborg) instead of Red (Coca Cola). How weird!

And how do the Danes explain this? On the official tourism site of Denmark you can read that:

"J-day" is normally the first Friday in November. At exactly 8.59pm the Christmas beer is launched, and you will find that practically every bar, café or pub in every town or city in Denmark will be buzzing with young people enjoying the first Christmas beer of the year. A great way of getting into the Christmas spirit!"

What an event for the international student! Never before Ms Respace had been allowed to sing along her favourite christmas song so early in the year – and for the night she was not the only one who really didn’t like the beer offered to her.

Confused?

J-Day has a hitch. Nobody actually likes the Christmas beer. So far, I have not met a single Dane who wasn’t disgusted by the brew. Yes, I am serious. Nobody likes it. But everyone celebrates it. Do we have to understand this?


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Upcoming next:
Christmas food – Who copied whom, did the Danish copy the Germans or did the Germans copy the Danish Christmas traditions? Who are the Chinese in this? And much more about christmas traditions, decorations, etc. etc....

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