Christmas Eve in Denmark, seen by an outsider

**Written on 24 December 2015. 00:43 Danish Time, Central European Time. GMT+1 Hour**

Christmas Eve in Denmark is the main event for this Holiday.

Most if not all Danes will be opening their presents tonight, but that is not the main event.

Some will be decorating their tree, which has been waiting out in the backyard, or on the terrace outside the apartment, until the right moment arrives.

The evening dinner may be Duck, Goose, Turkey, or Roast Pork. We will be having a French Duck, with Roast Pork on the side. The main course will be served with boiled potatoes, candied potatoes (with brown sugar), red cabbage (pickled, or in our case, a raw salad with oranges and walnuts), and for some strange reason, potato chips.

A number of people will eat dessert in the form of Risengrød, Rice Pudding, or Risalamande – Rice in the style with almonds. We only eat Rice Pudding, but ours is served at lunchtime. A single, or sometimes more almonds are blanched, with their skin removed then added to the Pudding. The lucky finder of the almond(s) wins a small prize, usually marzipan, or candy of sorts.

When Christmas Dinner is put away, and cleaned up in the kitchen, everyone collects around the Christmas Tree. Small booklets with traditional Danish Christmas Songs are sung, while moving around the tree, lit with real candles. The final song, Nu Er Jul Igen – “Now it is Christmas again”, is sung, while dancing around the tree, or perhaps through the house, hand in hand, with each verse thus changing the direction in which to go.

Upon completion, soft drinks might be served, with the present opening to follow. Depending on the size of the family, or the number of presents, this event can take some time to complete. When it is finished, and the tree has been emptied of presents, small pieces of homemade sweets, and/or Christmas Cookies will be served.

That is my version of events, which traditionally take place in our home. There are probably many variations of this event, just as there are many variations in the way that families have always done the same ritual, passed down over time.

Most Danes can recognize at least some of my descriptions, but then I am only an outsider to these traditions. No matter how many years I have experienced them, they will always mean something different to me, not being born in this Country, or raised in the Danish way.

Glædelig Jul!

**dk time

Courtesy of Greenwich Mean