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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Denmark, Lesson 4 - Christmas Eve
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 4, Christmas Eve. In Danish, it’s called juleaften.
In Denmark, most Christmas celebrations take place on December 24th, or Christmas Eve. For example, Danish people open gifts on Christmas Eve instead of on Christmas itself.
In this lesson, you'll learn more about how the Danish celebrate Christmas Eve.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question:
Why do people open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve in Denmark?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
For adults, Christmas "food," or mad, is one of the most important traditions. A typical Danish Christmas dinner consists of pork roast or roast duck with either caramelized or boiled potatoes, warm red cabbage, and brown gravy. Some people also use potato chips, because they taste delicious dipped in brown gravy.
For "dessert," or dessert, people serve risalamande with hot cherry sauce. This traditional dessert is made of cold rice pudding mixed with cream, sugar, vanilla, and chopped almonds.
After dinner, people gather around the Christmas tree while singing carols.
The number of carols and songs varies from family to family. It’s also common for people to dance around the house and around the tree while they sing. One of the more popular carols is Nu' det jul igen, during which some may dance through the house in a chain while holding each others' hands or shoulders.
Afterward, it's time for Christmas "gifts", or gaver.
The last episode of the show, “TV Christmas Calendar” is another highlight of the evening. The episode is aired later in the evening than other installments of the show, which is usually aired around dinner time.
Generally, TV programs on Christmas are very entertaining, especially for children and those young at heart. Entertaining TV shows give the adults responsible for cooking, wrapping presents, and setting the table the opportunity to do so while keeping the children busy in the meantime.
When the dessert is served, the hunt for the hidden almond commences. The winner gets an "almond gift," or mandelgave, for finding the almond in his or her serving. The gift is often a marzipan pig or a lottery ticket.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question:
Do you know why they open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve in Denmark?
It is a tradition that dates back to the pre-modern period, when it was believed the new day started at night. Thus, as soon as it was evening on December 24th, it was thought to already be December 25.
How did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
How do you celebrate Christmas Eve 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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