Christmas Day

Christmas Day Quick Facts - DK

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2023 Date25 December 2023
2024 Date25 December 2024


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Christmas in Denmark celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, reflecting deep-rooted traditions, customs, and religious observances. The holiday is characterised by unique Scandinavian rituals such as singing Danish Christmas carols and songs, giving and receiving gifts, and spending quality time with love ones. The festivities also involve enjoying a festive meal and lighting candles on the Christmas tree.

The celebration of Christmas in Denmark traces back many centuries, deeply engrained in the country's culture and heritage. It was initially celebrated as part of Pagan winter solstice traditions, which were gradually replaced with Christian practices. An important aspect that resonates with the Danes is the concept of 'hygge', a Danish cultural gem meaning cosy, warm or homely, which encapsulates the essence of Danish Christmas - cosy times spent with loved ones, indulging in good food, and creating a warm, welcoming environment.

Regarding the observations of Christmas in Denmark, one of the key features is Julefrokost, the traditional Danish Holiday lunch filled with Danish specialties. Another unique tradition is the making of the Christmas heart, dubbed 'julehjerte', a beautifully handcrafted decoration that Danes hang on their Christmas tree. Further, a very special Danish tradition is the Jul calendar, comprised of 24 small gifts, one for each day of December leading up to Christmas. In Denmark, Christmas officially begins with the start of Advent in late November and culminates on December 24th, known as 'Juleaften' (Christmas Eve), the main day of celebration.

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Christmas Day facts

  • During the 4th Century A.D., Bishop Nicolas of Smyrna was known to be very generous to the poor, especially to children. He was later given the title of Saint Nicholas and is patron saint of children.
  • Constantine the Great named the holiday and set the date for Jesus' birth as being December 25th. This happened in 325 A.D.
  • The Christmas tree is a custom that is believed to have begun in Germany in the 18th century. Candles and decorations that are lit represented the light of Christ in the world.
  • Danes have a unique decoration called the "julehjerte" (Christmas heart), made by weaving strips of colored paper or ribbon into a heart shape. These woven hearts are often used to adorn Christmas trees or act as small baskets for candies.
  • "Nisse" or "Nisser" are small, mythological creatures akin to elves or gnomes, closely associated with Danish Christmas tales and traditions. They are believed to bring good luck and are often depicted wearing red hats, white shirts, and clog shoes.

Top things to do in Denmark for Christmas Day

  • Attend a Christmas Eve service at a local church. Many churches offer midnight mass. Alternately, watch the Pope's annual Christmas eve service broadcast live from the Vatican.
  • Many churches hold pageants for children that involve playing the parts of the nativity scene. Go to one of these events or put up a nativity scene in your home.
  • Try traditional Danish Christmas desserts like Æbleskiver (round pancake puffs), Pebernødder (spiced cookies), and Risalamande (rice pudding with almonds and a cherry sauce).
  • Attending a Christmas church service is a common tradition for Danes. Churches often hold candlelit services with Christmas carols and readings.

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