A lot of people dream of celebrating Christmas in Denmark. Seeing the Danes dressed up in traditional costumes with pointy wooden shoes, speaking to each other in a language that might sound like Dutch, windmills decorated with tinsel, and elves with their fingers in dikes, just like in the old country.
Christmas in the Alps, however, it celebrated on entirely different terms. The local residents shun the use of traditional costumes, preferring their usual winter garb: hairy shirts made of Buffalo Fur, accented by trousers made from moss. Some might liken these items to Bigfoot Replicas, but the locals would only grunt, and spit at this type of comparison.
In other parts of Denmark, the streets would be decorated with lights, or perhaps heart-shaped decorations oozing with “Hygge”. Any Dane, or Danette would tell you that “Hygge” is a true Danish Concept which enables the Hy (who)-gee to be showered upon with compliments, and treasured gifts by the Hy (who)-ggor. “Come and Hygg with me” is perhaps the most famous of the National Sayings, which means: Cast off your troubles (and your wedding ring), and let us please each other in pure Scandinavian Fashion!
Hygge is not a concept known outside of Scandinavia, but which can loosely be translated as: “cozy yourself up to me, or cozy me, like I cozy you”. The true meaning will never be understood, unless you’ve lived in Denmark for 25 years, which means that at November 2016, I’ll finally know exactly what it means!
But I digress.
In the Alps, you won’t find Holiday lighting like in the larger cities, but that doesn’t mean, though, that Hygge doesn’t exist. On the contrary, Hygge is alive and well in the Alps, but to experience it in the pure form, the following steps must be taken:
- Do not approach the locals with a smile on your face. This can be misinterpreted as, you have been hit in the head by a large pine cone, and are willing to do anything to stay warm.
- Do not try to speak the local language, as grunting and spitting at exactly the right moment, is a time honored tradition, which is passed down from Mother to Son, and Father to Daughter.
- Do not assume that by saying, “Come let us Hygg together” assumes the same meaning as in the rest of the Country. Many an unwary, visitor, has found him/herself dangling from a Danish Larch Tree, dressed only in their birthday suit, waiting to be dipped in a vat of liquid Camelo Poop.
It might be heavenly for the locals, but I for one, would rather be hit in the head with a Silly Stick!
The high point of the Christmas Celebration occurs on Christmas Eve. The wide roads are lit with fiery torches, illuminating the faces and non-traditional attire of this proud folk. The Mayor’s Brother then holds a speech highlighting the true meaning of Christmas: a Midnight Hunt for the Grubby Gerbil, in the hope that “This year” will be the year, when that hated animal is exterminated from the face of the earth, once and for all!
The Mayor is naturally not present, as the “Gerbil” being the National Animal of Denmark would not weigh well for his re-election chances, outside of the Holiday Season. He will, though, be taking part using the traditional Christmas Eve Authorized Silly Stick, in the hope of bludgeoning the blighters back to Kingdom come, along with the rest of his fellow citizens.
On Christmas Day all traces of the previous evening have been removed, in case Ranger Rolf comes around, and meddles in the ways of the locals and their traditions.
The streets are quiet on the 25th, with all Hygge being carried out, in and around the towns of the Alps, with only the occasional cry of, “Oh yes, Oh yes, OMG, yes!” being heard.
OMG is a local abbreviation without any translatable virtues. We can only assume that it is a positive thing, in the way the participants seem to look, after the Hygge ritual has been completed!
I too, will be hoping to cozy up to someone during this Holiday Season, but I wouldn’t want to say that I could do it exactly like the Danes.
It is, however, worth a try, all the same….
Merry Hygge to all of you from The Danish Alps!