Because We Need a Little Christmas

Hello all! Sorry for the lag in posting–I’ve been bogged down with finals and projects as the end of my semester rapidly approaches. Despite the work (or maybe because of it) I’ve managed to enjoy a little Copenhagen Christmas cheer during the past month. The Christmas season here kicks off in early November on a day called J-Day, which is when the breweries release their Christmas beers. Unfortunately, I missed J-Day because of my travels but certainly noticed the addition of many new “juleøls” when I got back. I also noticed a slew of Christmas markets popping up across the city and lights strung on all the shopping streets. It was nice, but it didn’t really feel like Christmas.

Until I went to Tivloi.

Tivoli is the famous amusement park of Copenhagen. I’ve heard rumors that Disney World was inspired by Tivoli. Think like a Six Flags if it were more quaint and classy and placed smack dab in the middle of a city instead of out in the middle of nowhere. It is usually only open during the summer, but it opens specially (and goes all out) for Halloween and Christmas. I hadn’t been yet and was so excited when a friend invited me out one night. Walking around Tivoli all lit up and bustling with happy people made me really get excited for the season.

The entryway to Tivoli

Tivoli hotel all lit up

For some reason the danes are really big on their heart decorations around Christmas...

The next day, I was full of Christmas spirit and so decided to go see the Christmas tree lighting in the town hall square. I’ll let you see for yourself, but let’s just say this was not what I was expecting:

Later in the week, I went to meet a Danish friend for what she described as a jazz concert. Really, it was a Christmas service/concert at a church near her school. The Danes aren’t really a religious folk (I heard that nobody ever goes to church) and Christmas here doesn’t actually have any religious ties, but there were plenty of people who showed up to the church on a Thursday night to hear the student choir sing. I’m sure the free gløg (like mulled wine) and æbleskiver (like spherical pancakes eaten with powdered sugar and jam) after the show didn’t hurt either!

Seeing the cozy Christmas traditions around here has been nice, but for me the holidays are family time, so I’m really excited to get back to the states and celebrate with my own family. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on what mood I’m in) that return is really coming up–exactly one week from today I will be on my journey back to the US of A. It’s crazy thinking that my time here is almost done… The rest of this week is basically going to be trying squeeze in all the last things on my Copenhagen bucket list, so when I find some time I should have some good stuff to share!

Until then, happy holidays!


Haunts & Halloween in Copenhagen

Happy Halloween everybody!

Although I’m incredibly sad to be missing my yearly dose of pumpkin stew and watching Snoopy prowl around as the Red Baron in It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, it has been interesting to see how Halloween is handled in Denmark. Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

Danes aren’t very scary…

You may be asking yourself: what am I looking at and what does this have to do with Halloween? That, my friend, is a Danish cemetery and it’s about the least scary place I could possibly imagine. Each person gets their own little plot that is usually very landscaped and personalized. It’s so cute and kitchy–and a terrible setting for anything Halloween related.

…but they think Halloween has to be.

Last Friday my friend and I went to a Halloween party hosted by DIS (my study abroad program). She dressed up as a leek (porrer in Danish), because she always dresses up as food. While everybody loved her costume (she made a two-foot tall leek hat for goodness sake), all the Danes we encountered were confused how it was a Halloween costume. “What’s scary about porrer?” they asked us. “Are you an evil porrer?”

Try as they might, Danes can’t quite get Halloween right.

The one place in Copenhagen that did go all out for Halloween was Tivoli. I didn’t get to go myself, but according to a friend who went there were thousands of pumpkins all over the park, pumpkin lights strung in the trees, and renditions of “This is Halloweentown” from The Nightmare Before Christmas played.

Sounds pretty Halloween-y, but unfortunately Tivoli closed until the Christmas season on October 24–a week before Halloween. It was so strange to walk by that day and see them already taking down the decorations.




Their tricks may be lacking, but they’ve got the treats down.

Beyond the delicious pastries that I enjoy far too often (or not often enough?), Danes know how to enjoy their sweets. Keep an eye out for my next post, where I’ll tell you about my favorite Danish treat!