* * * This post appeared earlier today on www.denmark.dk – the official website of Denmark.
The direct link is
My husband came home from work on Monday and said “…half of Copenhagen was in town today”. Elementary, my dear Watson, because it was “Blue Monday”!
If you hear “Blue Monday”, you think of the New Order song. Not in Denmark. Blå Mandag or “Blue Monday” is a Monday in May or June when hoardes of 14 year olds have fun with their friends, show off their new gear, drink a cider or a beer (or two, or three) and get to spend some of the (wads and wads of) money that is burning a hole in the pocket of their skinny jeans. And Danish schools officially give them the day off to do it… And why is that? Because they’ve just been “konfirmeret“. Confirmed as members of the Danish church!
In seventh grade they’re invited to “gå til præst“ (‘go to the priest’) which basically means going to a series of meetings at the church. Not only to learn about the Bible and the rituals of the Danish church but also to discuss life’s ‘big questions’, faith, life and death. And – hey – don’t worry if you discover that you don’t actually believe in God. You can still be confirmed – because the ceremony is a confirmation of the christening ceremony, with God saying “yes” to you. Not the other way around! ;D
The meetings run over the course of several months and culminate in a grand church ceremony – the girls and boys traditionally dressed in white – in April, May and June. (With churches often performing two confirmation services in one day – sometimes with standing room only at the back!) It’s a milestone for Danish kids and their families. You’ll often hear confirmation being referred to as a rite of passage, when “the child takes his place amongst the ranks of the grown ups”. After the ceremony, and a good half-hour of photo-taking both inside and outside the church, there’s a lunch at home or in a restaurant for family and close friends. And during lunch the kids finally get to the highlight. Opening the gifts!
The kids I know told me that this year’s gift from Mum and Dad is a laptop computer, the latest smart phone or a flat screen tv. Thirty years ago, when my husband was confirmed, it was jewellry, a watch or a new bike. (And those Gyldendal red dictionaries were clearly all the rage too, because we seem to have an entire shelf of the things.)
But right at the very top of the kids’ wish list is money. Cheques or cool cash, please. And grannies and grandads, aunties and uncles are apparently quite happy to give cash instead of a specific gift. And very generous they are too. According to a survey by the bank Nordea, this year Danish kids will receive on average gifts worth a whopping 17,000 kroner (US $3,200 or GB £1,980). With a third of the money being spent immediately… Is it any wonder they can’t wait for “Blue Monday”? ;D
Have a wonderful Wednesday! 🙂