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Lesson Transcript

Anna: Hi everyone, I’m Anna.
Becky: And I’m Becky. Welcome back to DanishClass101.com. This is All About, Lesson 9: The Top 5 Important Dates During the Danish Calendar Year. It must be difficult to choose these dates from all the ones available, right?

Lesson focus

Anna: It sure is, but I’ll only talk about the days that are widely celebrated.
Becky: Okay, let’s introduce them in ascending order of importance.
Anna: All right. Save the best for last!
Becky: Let’s start with number 5...
Anna: That is the midsummer celebration which is called “Sankthansaften” in Danish, or “St. John’s Eve” in English.
Becky: And it’s held on the 23rd of June. Let’s talk about what people do on that day.
Anna: Well, on this day you will see huge bonfires on beaches, the shores of lakes and other waterways, parks, and so on. Since the 1920s it has been tradition to put a witch made of straw and cloth on the bonfire, sending her away to Bloksbjerg.
Becky: Where is that?
Anna: It’s where the great witch gathering was said to be held on June 23rd back in the day.
Becky: Sounds very exciting!
Anna: Yeah, but many find burning “witches” a bit inappropriate today, so this might be on the decline.
Becky: So try to see it while you still can!
Anna: Even if there is no “witch” on the bonfire, you can always hear speeches and practice your Danish, and songs on Sankthansaften.
Becky: Ok, now let’s continue with number 4...
Anna: That is “Fastelavn.” This “carnival” is not a religious festivity, and it’s best described as a Nordic version of Halloween, with children dressing up in all sorts of costumes.
Becky: That sounds great! When is this carnival?
Anna: Well, it’s usually on the Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent, and a moveable feast. So anywhere between early February and mid-March.
Becky: I see. So is Fastelavn exactly like Halloween?
Anna: Not exactly. There is no spooky theme, so you can dress up as anything you want. One of the traditional events is slå katten af tønden, which literally means “hit the cat out of the barrel.”
Becky: Ooh! Sounds pretty spooky to me.
Anna: Don’t worry, it’s more harmless than you think! The event is somewhat similar to using a piñata, but without the blindfold. The barrel is made of wood and filled with lots of candy.
Becky: So there is no actual cat in the barrel?
Anna: No. At least not anymore. Way back in the day there WAS. Due to superstition. But this was stopped in 1830.
Becky: So, beating the barrel was like safeguarding against evil?
Anna: Exactly! But luckily no cats are harmed today.
Becky: Yes, that’s very comforting! Well, let’s move onto number 3... “Påske” or Easter in English.
Anna: Yes, like fastelavn, Easter and the related holidays are also movable feasts that can fall anywhere between late March and late April.
Becky: And as you can imagine, this celebrationinvolves eggs! Besides the possibility of going to an Easter church service, traditions include several activities mainly for children like egg painting, and egg hunting.
Anna: And you probably eat more eggs made of chocolate than actual eggs from chickens. One exception, though, is Easter lunch which usually consists of a buffet with herring, cold cuts and other fish, as well as any other topping you can imagine putting on top of rye bread, to create your open-faced sandwich.
Anna: Okay, now onto number 2… “Nytårsaften” or New Year’s Eve in English.
Becky: Yes, this takes place on the 31st of December like in many other countries. Unsurprisingly, on this evening, people usually go out to parties or have one at home with family or friends. Many also have dinner with their family and then later meet up with friends at a party.
Anna: This sounds very much like New Year’s Eve in any other place in the Western world.
Becky: And it probably is! A bottle of champagne will be popped open when the clock strikes midnight, and people will start letting off fireworks all over the country. Before this, traditional events are broadcast on television and radio, including the monarch’s New Year’s speech at 6pm. The Town Hall Clock in Copenhagen is also broadcast when it is almost midnight. And then the next day you watch the Prime Minister’s New Year’s speech.
Anna: That’s right.
Becky: All right. Now the last day, the most important day...Number 1 is...
Anna: Christmas Eve, called “Juleaften.”
Becky: So, is it the same as Christmas Eve in the US?
Anna: Pretty much, but with a few exceptions. In Denmark, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December, on Christmas Eve. It’s usually celebrated at home with family in cozy and decorated surroundings, or even with close friends.
Becky: Are there any other differences?
Anna: Yes. The Christmas menu usually consists of flæskesteg, “roast pork with crackling” and stegt and, “roast duck”, with brun sovs, “brown sauce”, brunede kartofler, “caramelized potatoes”, and rødkål, “red cabbage”, followed by risalamande or ris à l'amande, “rice with almonds”, for dessert. Another major difference is that we unwrap our gifts on Christmas Eve, not on Christmas Day itself.
Becky: Lucky you!
Anna: I know!! I don’t have to wait!
Becky: Okay, so what else do you do during Christmas?
Anna: This holiday is also a time for family reunions. People are excited to return to their hometowns, so bars and clubs are usually packed on the evening of the 25th and the 26th, because of the many holidays.
Becky: It sounds like a nice atmosphere. And with that, I think we've covered the 5 most important holidays in Denmark!


Becky: We hope you get the chance to visit Denmark during one of these holidays, so that you can experience it for yourself! And please join us next time for more information on Denmark and the Danish language!
Anna: Farvel. Vi ses!
Becky: Bye everyone!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

DanishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Hello Listeners! What is your favorite Danish holiday?

DanishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 02:22 AM
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Hi Mikey.

Thank you for your comment.

Sankt Hans aften is certainly a hyggelig (I heard that this Danish word recently entered the British dictionary) tradtion. I really appreciate the old version of Midsommervisen, that's sung around the fire, for it's melody.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Best regards


Team DanishClass101.com

Monday at 03:01 PM
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Sankthansaften is my favourite, i hope it does not disappear! I found it great, bonfire on the beach with beer and everyone in good spirits, Denmark needs these kind of old festivals to continue.

Sunday at 07:14 PM
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Hi Rowena,

Thank you for your positive feedback!

We hope to see you often at DanishClass101.com!



Team DanishClass101.com

rowena burca
Tuesday at 08:43 PM
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it is Nice to listen the lesson ,,,thank you sø much❤️️

Team DanishClass101.com
Monday at 09:05 PM
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Hej Adolf

Thank you for commenting.

It is the ultimate activity for "fastelavn" that never grows old.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Thank you!


Team DanishClass101.com

Monday at 03:25 AM
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Jeg tror ... Jeg vil ønske at slå noget ud af tønden :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::laughing::grin:

( I think... I will want to beat something out of the barrel )

Team DanishClass101.com
Tuesday at 04:15 AM
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Hej Erica

Tak for din kommentar (Thank you for your comment).

Jeg håber, du vil kunne lide dansk påske (I hope you'll like Danish Easter).

Sig til, hvis du har nogle spørgsmål (If you have any questions, please let us know).

Mange tak!


Team DanishClass101.com

Sunday at 03:28 AM
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Jeg er spændt at se Påske! Jeg vil være i København næste år på det tidspunkt. Måske jeg kan sende et gækkebrev til en person. Selvfølgelig jeg håber ogsa at spise påskefrokost.

Mange tak for lektionen!

(Translation: I am excited to see Easter! I will be in Copenhagen next year at that time. Maybe I can send a "gækkebrev" to someone. Of course, I also hope to eat Easter lunch.

Many thanks for the lesson!)

DanishClass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 01:09 AM
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Hi Ricardo,

Thank you for commenting.

There are no native Danish holidays only restricted to Denmark.

Thank you!

If you have any other questions, please let us know.


Team DanishClass101.com

Ricardo Gimenes Ferreira
Friday at 01:47 AM
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Doesn't appear to be to different from Brazil,

Are there any scandinavian or native danish holidays?