Find a chair – it's time to jump into the New Year!

Christmas has been and gone (I hope you enjoyed my 24-day-long Danish Christmas Advent Calendar?) and I’m getting as much sleep as I can right now.  Because celebrating Nytår (New Year) in Denmark is serious business.  While Christmas is spent with family, New Year’s Eve is normally spent with friends – usually at someone’s house.

Let’s start with the basics.  The celebrations start at 6 o’clock.  Sharp.  So make absolutely sure you are at the party venue about 15 minutes before, so you have time to change out of your ‘outside’ shoes, take off your coat, scarf and gloves, and put down your (humungous) bag of fireworks (not forgetting the all-important safety glasses for every member of your party).  And what’s so important about 6 o’clock?  Well, that’s when the Danish Queen “Daisy”‘ makes her speech, live, on the telly.  And it’s tradition to watch.  And listen.  Whilst standing up and enjoying a cocktail or glass of bubbly…

After that, the kids (and big kids = dads) are officially allowed to go outside and launch a few fireworks.  (But remember to keep the big guns for 12 o’clock!)

 

And it’s also the cue for the others (read “women”!) to go into the kitchen, finish prepping the yummy food, and get the starter on the table.  Then the menfolk/kids come back in, everyone eats, the menfolk/kids go out and launch a few more fireworks, the women clear up and prepare the next course and repeat, repeat, REPEAT!!! 

 

 

Just make sure that – with all the crazy comings and goings, food and wine aplenty – that you don’t lose track of time.  When it’s getting near to 12 o’clock, you need to stop and find a seat.  Or a ladder.  Or a sofa.  Something that is fairly high up off the ground to stand on…

Switch on the telly or radio and turn it up LOUD.  Because the first chimes of the clock from Copenhagen’s rådhus (townhall) are your cue to literally ‘jump’ into the New Year.  So we jump, hug, kiss and open (yet more) champagne.  Then you listen to the traditional songs… Vær Velkommen Herrens År, Det er et Yndigt Land andKong Kristian stod ved højen Mast  Not a dry eye in the house, nor an empty glass! ;P

 

And then it’s time for everyone to muffle up, pile outside (safety glasses on, champagne in hand) for the Grand Finale of fireworks.  Which round our parts usually lasts over 30 minutes.  But you will hear fireworks going off the whole night, into the wee small hours of the morning…  And again the next day! 

 

But back to our party…  After the fireworks, you can come back in and warm up with hot coffee and kransekage (yummy marcipan cake, baked in rings, layered up and decorated with sparklers, feathers and streamers) before finishing off the champers… 

 

And the day after?  Is spent watching German ski jump on the tv, eating lots of junk food and – sigh – clearing up all the fireworks from the road and garden…

All that’s left for me to do is to say Godt Nytår!  Happy New Year!  Thanks for following the blog and look forward to seeing you all again in 2014!

Diane 🙂

 


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 24 December!

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!

24 DECEMBER

Woop, woop – it’s here!  24 December and we are ready to say “God Jul!”

I started off the day – as I do most mornings – with a skinny dip in the Danish North Sea.   The weather was been extremely mild this December, with an average air temperature of 6c (42f) and water temperature 3c (37f).  Here we are…fresh out of the refreshing, cold water!   :)

We’ll probably have a fairly light lunch of various sild (pickled herrings) and tarteletter, followed by the æbleskiver (Danish Christmas donuts) my husband made, and some gløgg (Danish mulled wine).

Christmas in Denmark officially starts around 6pm on the 24th of December with dinner…

Our dinner is always roast duck, warm red cabbage, a fresh red cabbage and carrot slaw, caramelised potatoes, boiled potatoes, warm potato crisps and lots of yummy sovs (gravy).

Dessert – as tradition dictates – is ris à l’amande (cold rice pudding with hot cherry sauce).  Who’s going to find the almond and win the marcipan pig?  It’s anyone’s guess!

Anyway, on to the main event of the evening for the kids…the present opening!  Um – no – hold on!  We have to dance round the tree first! Yep, we all join hands and dance and sing around the Christmas tree.  Normally we sing “Nu er det jul igen!“, “Jingle Bells” and “Højt fra træets grønne top!”

And then the presents can be opened!  One at a time, slowly, at random.  So that everybody can see who got what from whom. Which makes for a loooooooong process. For us, it usually takes about two hours…

And after all that?  Then we collapse onto the sofa, dig into the konfekt (homemade sweets), finish off the wine and down a refreshing, cold Danish Christmas beer…  Skål!  Cheers!

And – hey – thank you for joining me for my Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about those crazy Danes and their fantastic month long Christmas…

God Jul!  Merry Christmas!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 23 December

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!  And – woop, woop – tomorrow is The Big Day!

23 DECEMBER

Today it’s Lille Juleaften!  Little Christmas Eve!  So tonight we’ll be having our family’s traditional Lille Juleaften dinner – a side of smoked salmon, warm homemade bread, fresh veggies and salad, a selection of cheese and crackers and lots of lots and lots of konfekt (homemade sweets), biscuits and fruit.  We’ll wash it down with julebryg (Danish Christmas beer) and white wine.  And hyldeblomst saft (elderflower juice) for the kids.

I’m also doing some last minute prep for The Big Day.  Which means making the rice pudding for tomorrow’s ris à l’amande.   According to my family, the risengrød (rice pudding) has to be made a day in advance and kept cool overnight (preferably in a cold cellar).  Tomorrow we’ll add whipped cream, vanilla, sugar and serve it cold with hot cherry sauce.  At this stage, it looks pretty bland, I admit! 😛

The mandelgaver (almond presents) of marcipan pigs are wrapped and ready and I’m putting them in the dining room, so we’re not running around looking for them at the last minute…

I’ve also looked out the Christmas songbooks, so we’re ready for the traditional singalong after dinner.  And after we’ve sung some hymns and carols, we’ll sing and dance around our (real) Christmas tree – as is the tradition in Denmark.  And then – and onlythen – can we open the presents!

One sleep to go!  Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow…when we open the final door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 22 December

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

22 DECEMBER

Sunday morning and the sun is finally shining – hooray!  So it’s time to open that Christmas snaps, get out the julebryg (Danish Christmas beer) and enjoy a great Danish Christmas lunch!

So what do we traditionally eat at a full-blown Danish Christmas lunch?  Ummm, lots of things!  We always start with sild (herring).  My favourite is the plain, pickled herring.  Topped with homemade æggesalat (egg mayo).

Then we would usually move on to prawns.  And then change the ‘fishy’ plates for new clean plates before serving up some hot, homemade leverpostej (liverpâté) with mushrooms and bacon.

Then it’s usually on to my homemade rullepølse (rolled, pressed pork).

And then another of my personal favourites…tarteletter.  Warm pastry tart cases filled with creamy chicken and asparagus.

How about some sylte?  Potted head cheese.  I like to eat mine with a bit of mustard and lots of mini gherkins…

You might also see flæskesteg (roast pork) on the table.  And some really old smelly danablu blue cheese (which you can douse with alcohol or honey).  We’ll also be having medister (a round sausage) and fiskefileter fried fish fillets.  After all that lovely grub, there isn’t dessert at the end of a Danish lunch.  Just cups of strong coffee and a plate of konfekt (homemade sweets) and other goodies…

Two sleeps to go!  Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 21 December

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

21 DECEMBER

It’s the shortest day of the year today…  And – to really remind us that we want to fast forward to spring – it’s been dark and raining all day today in Copenhagen.  But, hey, the perfect weather for a spot of klippe klistre!  Every year my friends and I take it in turns to host a klippe klistre afternoon.   Klippe klistre means ‘cut and paste’.  Not in the ‘Control V/Control C computer’ sense.  I mean the old-fashioned way…with scissors and glue!  The Danes love to get together at Christmas time and make decorations.  If you have kids, you’ve no doubt already been at nursery or school one of the first mornings in December, eating breakfast together.  Coffee in one hand, glue in the other…

Though the problem for me is that I’m usually too busy chatting and enjoying the food to get any half-decent decorations finished 😛

Even the local Danish libraries host free klippe klistre events…

But I usually stick to making simple stuff like guirlander – garlands.  You know the ones?   No?  Well, you can see one I started at the bottom of the next photo.  You take strips of shiny paper, glue the ends together to make a circle.  Add another strip of paper to the first circle, glue together.  And keep going until you loose the will to live… ;)

But, hey, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t end up with perfect decorations.  After all, the real reason to klippe klistre is to get together with friends or family in order to hygge.   Have a good, cosy time at a time of the year when it’s very dark and cold.

This year our kids baked brunkager (spicy, Christmas Danish biscuits)…

…while we grown ups started on some paper decorations.  Bring on the glitter! 🙂

Have you klippe klistret today?  Remember to put the lid back on the glue stick when you’re finished!  And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 20 December

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

20 DECEMBER

Okay, so have you bought all your Christmas presents?  Are they wrapped and ready?  And the marcipan pig.  Did you remember that?!

If you’re hosting Danish Christmas dinner on the evening of 24 December and are serving the obligatory ris a l’amande for dessert, then you’re going to need the obligatory marcipan pig for the obligatory Mandelgave or ‘almond present’.

Ris a l’amande, despite the French name, is a very Danish dessert.  It’s a heavy, cold rice pudding, ‘lightened’ (ha!) with whipped cream and specked with chopped, blanched almonds.  And served with a jug of hot cherry sauce.  Yum!

According to tradition (which dates back a century or two) a whole blanched almond is ‘hidden’ in the dessert.  The dessert is served to the whole table and whoever finds the whole almond in their portion is ‘the Winner’.  The mandelgave (almond present) is usually a small, marcipan pig (marcipangris) but can also be a small bottle of snaps, a book, a game, you name it.  And if you have small kids, I’d suggest sneaking a whole almond into each and every little child’s bowl if you want to ensure ‘peace on earth’ this Christmas Eve… ;)

In my DDH’s (Dear Danish Husband’s) family, they go a step further and try to hide the fact that they have found the whole almond until the very end of the meal.  By hiding it in their mouth, in a pocket, under the tablecloth etc.  Just to keep everyone guessing.

Sometimes we make the pigs ourselves out of marcipan.  Just google “marcipangris” for images, and you’ll find plenty of inspiration.

Otherwise you can take the easy way out – and get your little piggies from a chocolate shop, baker…

…or supermarket.

Øf, øf!  Oink, oink!

Four sleeps and three shopping days to go!  Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 19 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!   Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

19 DECEMBER

Today we’re back on the Danish Christmas food wagon…rullepølse!   Rolled pork.  One of the things that features heavily in a Danish Christmas lunch…

You can find it ready sliced in little packets at the supermarket.  Or you can buy large chunks, for slicing at home, from your butcher.  But the one you see above isn’t just any old rolled pork.  It’s my hjemmelavet rullepølse – the homemade kind!   A long flat piece of raw pork belly (best to order it in advance from the butcher), which you cover with spices and lots and lots and lots and lots of pepper, roll up, tie up, boil, then put in a press to cool.  And then slice and enjoy on a slice of rugbrød (ryebread).  Some people like to top it with italiensk salat (a mayo salad containing chunks of carrot of peas), others eat it with slices of raw onion and cubes of pork jelly.  But it’s always, always good with a nice cold Christmas beer :)

Okay, so if I’m honest, I didn’t make my rullepølse completely from scratch last year.  I half-cheated and bought the pork from a Swedish butcher, raw, all rolled and ready for the boiling pot…

Here’s our rullepølse press – made by my husband’s brother in school woodwork class when he was just a nipper! ;)   They’re quite hard to find these days.  In fact, we lent our press out last year to a friend – after she had seen my rullepølse on facebook, and was determined to have a go!  (And can you guess what her family decided to buy her for Christmas?!)

After boiling, you squash the pork into the press and put the screws on it.  Then pop it into the fridge to cool and harden for a few days…

Am I making you hungry?   Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 18 December

Welcome back to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

18 DECEMBER

We’re now less than a week away from The Big Day, which means – hooray, hooray – it’s now ‘legal’ in Denmark to buy your Christmas tree and bring it into the house 😉

Now, personally, I’d be quite happy with the plastic tree I bought when I worked at the ECJ in Luxembourg many moons ago.  That tree has served me (and børnehave ‘creche’) well.  It’s green plastic – selvfølgelig.  And green in the eco-friendly way.  But DDH (Dear Danish Husband) insists on The Real Thing.  Despite the cost.  [Ouch! Said the Canny Scot.]  But, hey ho, it’s Christmas.  And the only Christmas tradition he gives a (fresh) fig about… 😛  So we walked down the road to our local  pusher…

And checked out this year’s models.  DH always buys the Nobilis trees – the very bushy, blue/green type.   Even though they’re not completely straight, they hardly lose any needles (unlike the Nordmannsgran, which drops its needles if you give it a hard stare).

We bought it (complete with foot – learned a few years ago the hard way that big trees don’t fit into the fancy teak wooden foot we have…), carried it home and unpacked it.

 And got ready to decorate it…

Almost done!  Will be making a few more decorations over the coming days…

So we are finally on the home straight!  Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 17 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

17 DECEMBER

Okay, this is going to be a loooooooong post.  So go grab a cup of tea, or gløgg, and get ready to relax for a few minutes with your feet up! 😛

If you saw yesterday’s post, you’ll know that I was in Copenhagen on Wednesday, soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.  All very hyggelig!  Just don’t take your kids into the nearest department store and expect to have a photo taken with Santa – because that doesn’t exist here.  For that, you’ll need to go to Tivoli.  Pay the entrance fee.  Then fork out again for the picture!  Then again, you can just go to Tivoli and take your own photos… 😉

 

But there are a couple of ‘outings’ that make up a Danish Christmas…

First of all, a visit to a julestue or Christmas bazaar.  Which come in all shapes and forms.  From weekend charity events at your school, to local Scout groups selling homemade decorations and Christmas trees, to fleamarket style markets with professional vendors.

And then there are full-blown exhibitions by designers like Jette Frölich.  She started in 1966 and has basically devoted her life to designing Christmas ornaments!  (I’ve been going to her exhibtions since I arrived here waaaay back in 1998.)  The Grand Old Lady is often around at the exhibition – here she is, with the white shirt on the right…

Entrance is free.  But have plenty of money ready if you actually want to buy ornaments because – although a lot of them are made of paper – they don’t come cheap!  Here are a few other pictures I took this year.  Starting with golden decorations from a previous collection.

And moving on through this year’s colours of white, silver and pale pink…

And if you’re in the centre of Copenhagen, then there are the famous Royal Tables at Royal Copenhagen (in their flagship store, right on Strøget, the pededstrian shopping street).  Every year Royal Copenhagen invites eight or so architects, chefs, designers or actors to decorate tables.  Using their choice of china, cutlery, glass etc.  It’s a real outing for all the old ladies and gents of Copenhagen.  Yep, at some points during the afternoon, you have to queue up to be able to get a look!  Though don’t expect anything very ‘Christmassy’…

If you’re a Dr Who fan, this one will probably creep you out…  Don’t blink! 😉

Complete with church windows?

Paintbrushes, anyone?!

And, last but not least, selvfølgelig, the ubiquitious Nordic-thing-going-on-complete-with-animal-skins-old-bits-of-wood-and-anything-we-can-find-lying-about-in-the-forest decorated table…

Hmmmm, time to drink up and go foraging in the woods?

Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane 🙂

 


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 16 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes… So sit back, relax and enjoy!

16 DECEMBER

The weather in Copenhagen is incredibly mild this December (about 7c/44f) and we haven’t had more than two snowfalls – hooray!  Which means that it’s been easy to get around town and, more importantly, nice to be out and about in town, soaking up the Christmas atmosphere! On Wednesday I was in Copenhagen (for, amongst other things, a Christmas lunch) and – wow – it was so ‘warm’ that we even sat outside and enjoyed a great cup of joe on the teeny tiny balcony of a little coffee shop.  High, high above the bustling shopping street of Strøget…

and with wonderful views of the rooftops of Copenhagen…

Back down on the ground, there is – selvfølgelig – a small Christmas market.  It’s bang in the centre of town (yep, that’s Borgen, in the background) but it’s pretty ropey and not really worth your time or kroner.  So let’s keep moving!

It’s much more fun to wander around the small cobbled streets around Kompagnistræde.

Hmmmmm – I can see that Nordic food, powdered liquorice, back-to-nature decorations, antlers and draped animal skins are – once again – this year’s black!

And, just opposite, we spotted this funny wee basement shop (Kirk – the Danish word for “church”) which turned out to be…

…an Aladdin’s cave of Christmas decorations and other intersting whatnots! 🙂

All that window shopping sure gives you a thirst.  I decided on a julebryg (Danish Christmas beer).  Skål!

Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 15 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

15 DECEMBER

It’s the third Sunday of Advent and my daughter has a friend over to play today – and they’ve just asked me for some pebernødder (“pepper nut” ) biscuits because they’re going to play the game of Mus! “Mouse!”

Yes, as I told you when we made pebernødder a few days ago (the recipe is here), Danish kids use them for a Christmas game…

First of all, line up some pebernødder in a row.  Yikes – our homemade ones went fast!  Good job that I have some shop-bought ones in the larder! ;)

Okay, so you line up some pebernødder in a row.  Five is a good number to start with.

The first player decides which pebernød is going to be the mus or “mouse”.  Keep it a secret from your opponent!

Player 2 starts eating pebernødder.  One at a time.  Slowly.

But if they pick up the one you earmarked, you shout out ”Mus!”  and they have to stop eating.   And that’s the end of their turn – ha!

Then you line up more pebernødder – so you have five in total again – on the table, Player 2 decides which one is “Mus” and it’s Player 1′s turn to start eating.  And you keep taking turns until a) you run out of pebernødder or b) you get sick of eating pebernødder…  If you don’t feel you can trust each other (hmmm, siblings, anyone?), then you can cross off your ‘Mus‘ on a piece of paper before your start, so you have proof!

Now be careful not to go overboard on the pebernødder or you won’t be able to eat your dinner! ;)   And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 14 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

14 DECEMBER

Today we’re back on the booze – again!  Yes, today is the fourth time since we opened our calendar that we’re drinking alcohol – how very Danish! 😉  Not Danish Christmas beer.  Not gløgg.  Not burn-the-back-of-your-throat-snaps or slightly-singe-the-back-of-your-throat-homemade-coffee-snaps.  No, today it’s much more genteel.  You see, since arriving in Denmark in 1998, I’ve started my own little Christmas tradition.  Whenever I write my Christmas cards – about 30 of them in all – I get all cosy and pour myself a little glass (or three…) of Kijafa.  Danish cherry wine.  It’s an excruciatingly sweet dessert wine/liqueur very much favoured by old ladies.  And selvfølgelig moi 😛

You can also enjoy it with a plate of ris à l’amande – the rice pudding dessert that we eat on the 24th of December – the evening the Danes celebrate Christmas.

For me, Kijafa is Christmas in a glass.  It warms the cockles of my heart.  And dulls my senses after the shock of buying postage stamps.  (If you read Pass the smelling salts, I’m buying Danish stamps!, you’ll understand why I only send my cards second-class by B-post.)

Skål!  Happy Saturday!  And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)

 


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 13 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

13 DECEMBER

Okay, so there are no prizes for guessing what I’m writing about today…  13 December means one thing and one thing only.  Santa Lucia!  A candlelight, singing procession – just before the sun comes up or goes down – on St. Lucia Day, the 13th of December.  Lead by the Lucia-brud (‘Lucia bride’) – she’s the girl with the crown of candles in her hair – her followers wearing long white robes and bearing candles.  A tradition stolen from Denmark’s neighbours – the Swedes.

Here we were at school last year.  At 8.15am when it was still pitch black outside…

 

The procession went up and down the corridors.  Ground floor, first floor, second floor.  With pupils, staff and parents lined up to watch all the way.  At 8.24am (see the clock!) the girls passed through the school library…

…and came up to the third floor of the school.  Just as daylight finally came.

And, no – your eyes do not deceive you…  The girls carry real, lighted candles.  And the staff – selvfølgelig– take plenty of precautions.  One of the girls got her hair just a bit too close to the flame and her hair singed very slightly.  But the teachers were on hand immediately and nothing worse happened.  All in a day’s work for a Danish teacher!  The Lucia girls thought it was exciting and have a story to tell.  And I’m glad to live in a country where they don’t use fear mongering and ban lighted candles – but instead carry on the tradition, use their common sense and teach the kids respect for open flames.  Hooray for those crazy Danes!

If you want to hear the Lucia song, and get a real feeling of what it’s like to watch the small kids go by, here’s a cute little video from a Danish school.  Not a dry Mum’s eye in the house, I’m sure! 🙂

But, hey, do be careful with those candles out there.  And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 12 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

12 DECEMBER

So far you’ve heard the ‘most played’ Danish Christmas song “Jul, det’ cool!”(a rap) and a Danish kids’ Christmas song about elves and rats, “På loftet sidder nissen…”.

Today I give you the archetypal Danish Christmas hymn, “Et Barn er født i Bethlehem” (A child is born in Bethlehem).  It’s one of the ones our family sings when dancing around the Christmas tree after dinner on 24 December, just before the presents are handed out.  And a song you’ll hear in every single nursery, school and church.  If you are lucky enough to find an available seat in the church, that is.  The Danes are not churchgoers – unless it’s Christmas!  Yep, most Danish churches have to bring in extra folding seats, to cope with the sudden demand… 😉

Anyway, seat or no seat, you can learn the psalm in a snap because it’s so simple – each verse contains just two lines (half of one of which is repeated) and then ”Halleluja, halleluja!”.  So even if you don’t speak Danish, can’t remember the words or your eyes can’t decipher the tiny letters on the hymn sheet, you can always join in with some hale and hearty hallelujas!

I can play it on the piano but, instead of torturing you with my own rendition, here it is, sung by Dario Campeotto…

.

If you want to have a go at singing it yourself, then go check out a nifty little site called the Online Danish Hymnbook – Den Danske Salmebog Online.  You can choose whether you want to be accompanied by a church organ or piano! 

Okay, clear your throats and get ready to stand up and sing! Or do as the Danes do in church…and sit down and sing? ;) (Stand up, Sit down, Sing along!)

Et barn er født i Betlehem

Mel.: 15. årh. / Lossius 1553
Tysk visemelodi omkring 1600 / A.P. Berggreen 1849

1

Et barn er født i Betlehem,
thi glæde sig Jerusalem!
Halleluja, halleluja!

2

En fattig jomfru sad i løn
og fødte Himlens kongesøn.
Halleluja, halleluja!

3

Han lagdes i et krybberum,
Guds engle sang med fryd derom:
Halleluja, halleluja!

4

Og Østens vise ofred der
guld, røgelse og myrra skær.
Halleluja, halleluja!

5

Forvunden er nu al vor nød,
os er i dag en frelser fød.
Halleluja, halleluja!

6

Guds kære børn vi blev på ny,
skal holde jul i Himmel-by.
Halleluja, halleluja!

7

På stjernetæpper lyseblå
skal glade vi til kirke gå.
Halleluja, halleluja!

8

Guds engle der os lære brat
at synge, som de sang i nat:
Halleluja, halleluja!

9

Da vorde engle vi som de,
Guds milde ansigt skal vi se.
Halleluja, halleluja!

10

Ham være pris til evig tid
for frelser bold og broder blid!
Halleluja, halleluja!

Latin 14. årh. Tysk 1545. Dansk 1544. 1569.
N.F.S. Grundtvig 1820 og 1845.

* * * * * *

Amen! And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)


My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar – 11 December

Welcome to My Danish Christmas Advent Calendar!  Join me every day in opening a new door.  Just like last year, I’ve got a host of goodies to share with you – traditional Danish Christmas recipes, traditions, songs, games, decorations, crafts and landscapes…  So sit back, relax and enjoy!

11 DECEMBER

Okay, it’s time to get your pinnies back on – we’re baking again!

Today we’re making pebernødder – ‘pepper nuts’.  Small, spicy, crunchy biscuits that are a) good to eat and b) an essential ingredient in a Danish kids’ Christmas game.  But more on that another day!

You can – selvfølgelig – buy pebernødder in any supermarket.  But last year we decided to make them ourselves…

First of all you’ll need:

  • one egg (1 æg)
  • 125g of granulated or caster sugar (sukker)

.

Beat these together in a bowl until you get a pale yellow frothy mixture.

Then add this lot to the bowl:

  • 250g plain flour (mel)
  • 125g butter (I always use Kærgården)
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda (natron)
  • ½ teaspoon of cardemom (stødt kardemomme)
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger (ingefær)
  • ½ teaspoon of cinammon (kanel)
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper (sort peber)

Beat again and then scrape the mixture out of the bowl…

…and into a plastic bag.  Throw it in the fridge for an hour or so until the dough hardens up.

Cut off chunks of dough, then roll them into long sausage/worm shapes.  Take a knife and cut the sausage into small pieces (about the size of a small cherry).  Roll them into little balls.  Or get some little nisser (remember those?)to roll them into balls…

 

Place them on a baking tray (I always use baking paper for easy clean up) and pop them into a warm oven – 200c/400f. 

Bake them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until they look dry and are beginning to turn a pale golden brown.  Let them cool off and then you can a) eat them b) play with them (more on that another day) or c) put them in little cellophone bag or boxes to give away as presents.

Velbekomme!  And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow when we open the next door!

Diane :)