As an Island girl whilst living in Jamaica “winter holidays” was never anything special to me…
Then again “Winter and Island” don’t walk hand in hand especially if one lives in Montego Bay (Jamaica)…where the beaches are at your door step!
After moving to one of the coldest Nordic countries that’s when I was really introduced to winter and the Danish winter holidays. I must confess now I look forward to celebrating Christmas in Denmark. Maybe it also has something to do with me becoming a mother.
One can literally feel the festive season from the first of November. That is also when most workplaces, friends, family members, schools/universities etc start having Christmas parties (julefrokost), where everyone sits, eats, and enjoys each other’s company with traditional Danish food.
Holiday decorations are already up in stores and on the walking street but all the Christmas tree lights are switched on from November 30 followed with a ceremony and the arrival of Santa Claus (Julemanden) with load of toys!
Even if you are an international living in Denmark you can sometimes create your own Christmas party, or julefrokost, where everyone prepares a meal from their country of origin. This way everyone tastes one culture.
There are different kinds of Christmas parties, too. For instance, at the Danish language school one has the opportunity to part take in a “Bingo game” (Bankospil), and if you are a lucky winner a gift awaits you.
From the first of December children start to open their first gifts from their Christmas calendar (jule calendar). This is a holiday tradition where they are given a gift everyday until Christmas. If not a Christmas calendar, a few parents do an advent calendar where the children only receives a gift on Advent sundays.
Some homes also have their Christmas tree up and decorated, while some families prefers to set their tree up the Day before Christmas! In our home the tree is up from the first of December and decorated by the children!
Even though Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December here in Denmark it is a bit strange for me but quite entertaining. For example at 18:00 pm one listens to the Queen’s speech then eats a traditional holiday meal. Afterwards you are required to dance around the Christmas tree and open presents afterward.
Have you celebrated a holiday abroad? What traditions have you adopted from your new country?
Niceno Larsen is a Jamaican expat living with her beautiful multicultural family in Denmark. Her website MummiVillage is a space for parents and caregivers to come together to share tips and advice. Her blog is TinyVillage of Smiles. She can also be found on Google Plus, where she runs a community Love Without Barriers.