Christmas from 7th class Oerum
During all the 24 days before Christmas, many children in Denmark get small presents in a calendar; we call it a Calendar of presents. Also at Advent some children get presents, but it’s not as common as the Calendar presents.
In the presents there are often candy or small inexpensive things.
In many Danish homes, we make a home-made Christmas calendar. You make them of 2 pieces of cardboard; you lay them over each other. In one of them you cut 24 small gates, where you draw pictures of things concerning Christmas.
Many children also have a calendar filled with chocolate hidden behind 24 small windows.
Calendar on the television
From the 1st of December, there is a Christmas calendar shown on television, and it goes on to the 24th of December. It is mostly about nice pixies or something you must do before Christmas Eve.
In connection with the television calendar there is a paper calendar, which you can buy in different places.
Here in Denmark we have a calendar called “The Children’s Developing Country Calendar.” We have had it for a long time. The profit from the calendar goes to different developing countries in the world. This year the profit goes to the children living in the streets of Honduras in Central America .
In the Christmas month, almost every Dane uses a Calendar candle. It’s a candle with numbers from 1-24. For every day you burn a number, that means the 1st of December you burn number 1 down, and the 2nd of December you burn number 2 down. And we keep doing it until Christmas Eve.
In Denmark, we have a tradition, we call Advent. This tradition is more than 300 years old. It begins four Sundays before Christmas. We say it is to count the weeks till Christmas. We light a candle each Sunday, until Christmas. The word “advent”, means “coming”.
Originally Advent was a time for fasting, doing penance, and thereby preparing yourself for the Christmas feast.
The candle, which is usually red or white, stands in a wreath made of spruce, and has a white or red ribbon.
Each candle stands for something — the first candle stands for joy, the second candle stands for hope, the third candle stands for faith, and the fourth candle stands for peace.
Many children and some teens get little presents every day until Christmas.
In the big Danish cities there are a traditions for every decoration in the streets and supermarkets. There are lots of Santa Clauses walking around the streets singing or giving candy or peppernuts out for the children and some grown-up people. There are also big grain festoons.
You also can see big electric elf-shows where the elves are doing strange things like dancing and singing. In some places there are little trains with reindeers and Santa Claus. There are a lot of elves and Santa Clauses in the supermarkets and in the little shops. There are also big hearts in the street-lamps and some very, very beautiful stars and spruces.
Hallo! I will like to tell you about the decorations in the small towns in Denmark. There is often a tradition for a big Christmas-tree full of light in the middle of the town where everybody can see it. And then they’re a lot of garden-owners who have their own little tree with lights in their garden. Lots of people also have lighted stars or Christmas-trees in their windows. And then there are often something on the lampposts with a lighted star or elf who is climbing it. And then there are some Christmas-markets
The Christmas decorations mean a lot to the Danish people, especially candles and trees. You can also see small candles standing in the windows. You can also see little garden-elves and Santas standing in people’s gardens.
A long time ago, in the year 300, there was living a young woman in Sicily. Her name was Lucia. Her mother was very ill and no one could heal her. One day Lucia took her mother to the holy Agathe`s grave to get her cured and suddenly her mother was cured. After that Lucia asked for her inheritance so she could give it to the poor people but her husband found out about what she did with the money and he also found out about her Christian faith. Then he got her burned in the fire. Some years later she was canonised as a saint.
Now we remember her on the 13th of December with girls and a “bride,” who have white dresses on. The “bride” is the only one with four candles in her hair. This tradition started in Sweden after the 2nd World War. Now it’s mostly celebrated at school, hospitals, rest-homes and other institutions. When they do the Lucia, they mostly give cookies and coffee and presents out to the people around them.
The evening before the 24th of December we call Little Christmas Eve and that is when many Danish people decorate their Christmas tree.
A typical Danish Christmas tree is decorated with home-made paper-hearts, Christmas balls, ribbons of tinfoil, small Danish flags, angels, bells, festoons, home-made stars, musical instruments, screws of paper, burning candle lights and most people in Denmark have a star at the top of the tree. In Denmark in the afternoon many people go to church, make food for the Christmas dinner, and many children watch TV.
The Danish people begin to eat the Christmas dinner at 6:00 p.m.
A typical Christmas dinner in Denmark is duck or roast pork, potatoes, brown potatoes (potatoes that are fried in butter and sugar) and not to forget the red cabbage and brown sauce (gravy).
For dessert we have a “ ris á l’amande” (rice pudding mixed with chopped almonds and whipping cream). We put one whole almond in the “ris à l’amande”. The person who finds the almond wins a prize, usually a marzipan pig.
After the dinner we put the presents under the Christmas tree. When we have done that, we begin to walk around the Christmas tree and sing Danish Christmas songs.
At last we can get the Christmas presents! There are many different ways to get the presents. When they are all opened we have a cosy time together with the family.