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 Fireworks. Everybody loves it and the danes are no exception. Archivephoto
 Fireworks. Everybody loves it and the danes are no exception. Archivephoto

New Year in Denmark: Traditions for celebrating

Publiceret: 22.12.2016 20:52 | Senest opdateret: 22.12.2016 21:08
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Collected by Olga Piskun
New Year’s Eve is a night of celebration and reveling for much of the globe. Denmark is no exception. But unlike Christmas, which most people spend with their families, New Year is celebrated with friends. And it also has its own particular rituals.

We collected the most popular Danish traditions of celebrating New Year’s Eve.

Toasts for motherland
At 6 p.m. people gather by the TV to hear the New Year’s speech of the Queen - a live broad-cast from Fredensborg Castle. Her Majesty’s speech has been an annual staple since its advent by King Christian IX back in the 1880s. And this speech has virtually become a national rallying point since it was first made in 1942 during the German Occupation, when the King called for national unity.

In recent times, bookies even have started monetizing this royal occasion, taking bets on which current events from the past year will make it into Her Majesty’s speech.

The next day, the 1st of January, at 7.15 p.m. the Prime Minister’s speech comes. It is one of the longer-established customs, dating back to 1940 when the then Prime Minister, Thorvald Stauning, gave the very first New Year’s address by radio transmission in light of the Second World War. Nowadays, the address takes the form of a lengthier discussion, recapping on the year in politics.

Time for dinner and ”kransekage”
The New Year’s Eve menu stands in opposition to the Christmas food. Special dishes are served, and fine and varied quality of champagne flow all night. In many parts of the country, the traditional New Year’s Eve menu is boiled cod, the so-called New Year’s cod, or stewed kale and cured saddle of pork.

The sweet finale comes in the form of a Kransekage, a towering cake made from layer-upon-layer of marzipan rings. The cake’s turret-like shape is reminiscent of a cornucopia, the horn of plenty, which promises happiness and wealth for the coming year.

Jumping into the new year
One of the traditions on that night is the live broadcast of Town Hall Clock in Copenhagen turning twelve on New Year’s midnight. And the second one (at the same time) is ”jumping into the new year”. It is tradition for everyone celebrating indoors to scramble to the highest viewing point (sofa or chair) and jump into the new year. The leap from a high is said to symbolize the overcoming of potential challenges and difficulties in the year ahead. It’s followed by an old-fashioned sing-along to ”Vær velkommen herrens år” (”Welcome to the Lord’s New Year”), and also two others Danish national songs ”Der er et yndigt land” (”There is a lovely land”)” and ”Kong Christian stod ved højen mast” (”King Christian stood by the lofty mast”).

Traditional movie during many years
Every year the Danish national broadcaster DR shows a short film ”Dinner for on”, known in Denmark as ”The 90th birthday”. This black-and-white German sketch has been aired every single year since 1980 and the Danes love it so much. The movie centers on a New Year’s Eve meal between Miss Sophie, a rich, lonely old woman, and her loyal butler, James, who acts as a stand in for Miss Sophie’s absent friends, including the amusingly named Mr. Winterbottom and Admiral Von Schneider.

Danish fireworks
Danes like to celebrate New Year. People sing, dance, clap, and make noises to reflect their exuberance for the occasion. But what they like mostly in this time - fireworks. Danes are permitted to light fireworks just six days out of the entire year; they include both noisy bangs and rockets, which light up the night sky in many different colours. Perhaps it is done with an old belief in concern that loud noises of fireworks sway away all the evil spirits and negative energies.

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