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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Denmark, Lesson 15 - Denmark's Liberation
Hello and welcome to the Culture Class: Holidays in Denmark Series at DanishClass101.com.
In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Danish holidays and observances. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 15, Denmark's Liberation. In Danish, it’s called Danmarks Befrielse.
As time progresses, there are fewer and fewer people who remember the time when Denmark was occupied by the Nazis during World War II. Fortunately, there are many who carry on the stories — and especially one specific tradition, which is performed on the evening of the day before May 5, Denmark's official day of Liberation.
In this lesson, you'll learn how Danes observe this day of liberation.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question:
Who mainly gets credit for liberating Denmark?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Liberation Day is officially on May 5, because it was from the morning of that day in 1945 that the Nazi capitulation took effect. However, many consider Liberation Day to be on May 4, the day when the Germans' surrender was announced on the radio.
On the evening of May 4, 1945 the Nazi capitulation was announced. In celebration of the end of five years of occupation, everyone celebrated by tearing down the blackout curtains.
"The Nazis," or nazisterne, could no longer impose that people should black out the windows in the evening and at night, which was done so that the English pilots could not distinguish populated cities from rural areas.
To emphasize their regained "freedom", or frihed, many people lit candles and put them in the windows. Even today, in remembrance, many extra candles are lit on the evening of May 4th. In the Memorial Park in Ryvangen north of Copenhagen, a memorial is also held on the evening of May 4.
On May 5, 1945, Danish resistance fighters found over 200 graves that contained freedom fighters executed by the Nazis and others who had fallen in a fire fight. After the deceased had been identified, many families had their relatives' remains buried in the "Memorial Park" or Mindelunden.
Therefore, people leave candles at gravesites and listen to music in the square before the commemoration. During the ceremony, people recite speeches while the community sings, often featuring patriotic songs.
Danes tend to use both festive and solemn occasions to fly "flags," or flag. Of course, May 4 and 5 are no exceptions.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question:
Who mainly gets credit for liberating Denmark?
British troops are generally given credit for having liberated Denmark.
But of course, it was also because of the allied countries' joint efforts, which caused the Germans to finally surrender and sign the capitulation.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you celebrate something similar to Denmark's Liberation Day in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at DanishClass101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!

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