For my recent round birthday, my Danish colleagues gave me a couple of books. One of them, the one I’m already done reading (for the first time. There MUST be a second!) is The Year of Living Danishly by a British journalist, Helen Russell.
I guffawed several times while reading this book, because there were so many things that were either perfect descriptions of ‘my’ Danes, or diametrically opposite to them.
Here are some of the fun/funny things I’ve learned:
- Danes leave their babies outside in their prams while they shop or eat
- Legoland, Billund closes for winter. The word Lego comes from the Danish Leg godt, which means play well.
- The Danes drink 10-11 litres of pure alcohol per person per year. Or thereabouts.
- In the smaller villages, it’s possible that the kindergarten/nursery teacher will bring the class over to the house of the child whose birthday it is for some ‘cake and chaos’.
- It’s okay to burn the Danish flag, but not that of another nation in Denmark
- To mark the New Year, Danes jump off a sofa (onto the floor). They also smash plates against their neighbours’ mailboxes.
- The Danes don’t believe in epidurals. Or paracetamol.
- Confirmations are a big deal. Some kids – sorry, young adults have nonfirmations.
- There is Christmas beer, Julebryg. It’s available for only 10 weeks of the year.
- There are more divorces post the summer holiday than during the rest of the year. It is suspected/assumed that this is because people are forced to spend several weeks together – longer than at Christmas.
- Skat is the word for tax as well as the word for honey.