New Year’s Eve rituals exist in many parts of the world and Denmark is no different. Here’s a short guide to understanding some of the best-known traditions.
The Queen Margrethe’s New Year’s Eve speech at 6pm signals the beginning of a long and festive night. It’s a live broadcast from the Queen’s office in Christian IX’s Palace at Amalienborg, an annual essential that first started with King Christian IX in the 1880s. The Queen takes this opportunity to summarize the year’s main political events, both global and local. The speech always concludes with a salute to the nation with the words “Gud bevare Danmark” (God preserve Denmark), which signals the time to begin the meal.
Unlike the Christmas dishes consumed just a few days prior, the New Year’s Eve menu consists of boiled cod, served with home-made mustard sauce and all the trimmings. However, Danes are less traditionally bound to the food when it comes to New Year. So, many Danes prepare exotic and alternative specialities for their New Year’s dinner.
For dessert, the famous Kransekake, a Danish invention from the 1700s. Like champagne, it is one of the fixed elements of New Year’s Eve. It’s a towering cake made from layer-upon-layer of marzipan rings. The cake’s turret-like shape promises happiness and wealth for the coming year.
Just before midnight, many Danes gather in front of the television to watch a short movie in black and white from 1963 called “90-års fødselsgaden” (“Dinner for one”, also known as “The 90th Birthday”).
At the midnight countdown, it is a tradition for everyone celebrating indoors to stand on a sofa or a chair and jump into the new year. It symbolizes the hope for better time/eases the transition and then everyone wishes each other a Happy New Year. At this point a choir performs the Danish anthem and the Danish Monarch song.
Shortly afterwards, people gather in the streets to set off fireworks. Danes traditionally celebrate New Year with lots of fireworks. It was only around 1900 that fireworks began to become something that ordinary people could buy. Before that, New Year was celebrated by using guns to fire shots into the air. It was done because of an old belief that loud noises and fireworks keep spirits and negative energies away.
New Year’s Eve is the perfect night to cement a friendship with your new Danish bestie; come midnight, it is tradition to round up all your broken bits of china and smash it against your friends’ door in a sign of affection and ever lasting friendship!
This is the precise moment that all of your grievances from the past twelve months can physically manifest themselves for the evening. Remember, the bigger the pile, the more people love you!
Find A Local Organization
View the Full Calendar
Make a Donation
Visit Our Facebook Page
Visit Our Instagram Page