Give us a (Danish) song!

[This post is also published at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

If you’ve ever been to a Danish party (40th birthday, christening, confirmation, graduation, silver wedding) you’ll know that there are always speeches and songs.  The songs will be written specially for the birthday boy or girl, usually to the tune of a well-known melody – so that everyone can sing along.  It’s a rather daunting task to write a song.  Especially if Danish isn’t your mother tongue! ;D

Getting ready to celebrate our Copper Wedding (12½ years of married bliss)

But even if you’re too scared to stand up and make a speech or write a comprehensible song in Danish, you can still contribute to the party.   Here’s a very simple but fantastic idea I’ve seen at many parties…  Just take any well known song.  For the sake of example, let’s use “Der er et yndigt land” – the Danish national anthem.  This was one of the songs used at my friend T’s birthday party.


Der er et yndigt land

Det står med brede bølge

Nær salten Østerstrand

Nær salten Østerstrand

Det bugter sig i bakkedal

Det hedder gamle Danmark

Og det er Frejas sal

Og det er Frejas sal!


And if you don’t know the melody, take a listen here!

Anyway, at the beginning of each line, you write exactly who is supposed to stand up and sing that line.  Like this:

(Everyone) Der er et yndigt land

(Birthday girl’s family) Det står med brede bølge

(Birthday girl’s friends) Nær salten Østerstrand

(Birthday girl’s colleagues) Nær salten Østerstrand

(Couples) Det bugter sig i bakkedal

(Singles) Det hedder gamle Danmark

(Only the birthday girl) Og det er Frejas sal

(All those who are ready to party!) Og det er Frejas sal!

As you’ve no doubt worked out for yourself, there’s a lot of standing up and sitting down.  Which means that everyone is involved.  Certainly helps to break the ice! 🙂

Of course, it’s more fun to take a long song (or at least three or four short ones) and really go to town on the categories…  How about: vegetarian, drinks beer, works in the public sector, can ride a bike, dog owner, over 1.80m tall, loves shoes, owns a rabbit, drinks wine, doesn’t like gardening, is wearing clean underpants, votes Socialist, under 45 years old, lies about their age, long-haired, sport freak, has had a speeding ticket, lives in an appartment, is sexy, has at least ten fingers, is a pensioner, has blue eyes, over 90 years old, etc, etc, etc?

Oh.  And don’t forget the most important part.  At the end of the song you have to write… Skål! (Cheers!)

Photo taken at the end of our Copper Wedding party…

amazingly there’s still beer left in the tap! ;D

Hope you have a thoroughly thrilling Tuesday! 🙂