Posted by: annmucc | July 11, 2010

Celebrating the Danish Way

Michael and I are currently in Denmark for the weekend. The reason for this? It was one of his uncle’s 60th birthday, and a big party was being organised at their house. Not having ever been to a Danish party yet (besides Michael’s birthday party 2 years ago which was on a small-scale relatively). We have known about the party for quite some time now so we decided to organise a trip to be able to attend.

The party was a garden party of around 140 people. I was surprised at that as most people in Malta would not have space to host that many people in their garden, and if they do it is not something I have been to (with marquee and all!). We arrived there early as Michael’s dad was the ‘official photographer’ of the night…or I though it was early! Being Danes they all arrived within some 15-30mins of the scheduled time. I am always impressed by Danish time keeping I must admit.

First on the programme? Saying hi (or dau) to everyone. And when I say everyone I mean EVERYONE. As soon as anyone arrives they go round the people already there saying hello. However as I knew very little of the people there, and they just say hi and no introductions, 140 of that became quite tedious after a while.

From then on however things improved significantly. Michael’s family always make me feel very welcome, speaking to me in English, and including me in what is going on. I was also surprised that other Danes I didn’t know spoke to me in English! And when they heard me speak on English a lot of the others smiled at me. It really made my day I must admit, as my other experience of Danes is that they tend to stick to themselves and the people they know.

Besides all the hellos in the beginning there were other things which were unusual to me. First of all everyone was assigned a table. That was fine by me, so I found a table and proceeded to pull my chair out to sit down. One of Michael’s cousins however promptly grabbed the chair from my hands and put it back in place. The way they do it is that everyone finds his seat and stand behind their chair till someone says that we could sit down.

On the other hand however with food they don’t wait for each other. It was a buffet so we stood up table by table to go get a plate of food. But as soon as the first person sat down they started to eat. I would normally expect people to wait for others to start eating, but this doesn’t seem to be a Danish thing to do. But maybe it was because the food was so good? And there was so much of it! My favourite was probably the pork (I normally don’t like pork much, but being on a pig farm probably meant we got the best quality pork ;)), and the base of the strawberry tart which was all marzipany and delicious. They also had a soft ice machine to get ice-cream from. MMM!

It wasn’t just about the food and drink though (of which there was more than plenty!), which Maltese parties tend to be about. There were also some speeches (they say Hurra Hurra Hurraaaaah after each speech\song, which to me sounded at first like a Viking WAAA WAAAA WAAAAAAAAAAA – see second picture below), a couple of songs written for the occasion about Carl-Alfred (the uncle), as well as a lot of time to talk and relax. Besides the main buffet there was also ‘going-home food’ (third picture below) at around midnight to make sure that all the people were sent of with a full stomach.

So from around 4:45pm to around 2am yesterday I enjoyed the relaxed Danish way of life. Really enjoyed it, and cannot wait for the next one, which will probably for Michael’s dad and brother-in-law next year who will be a ‘100’ all-together :).

Tillykke med fødselsdagen, Carl Alfred



  1. Haha glad you enjoyed it and great to see some of our strange traditions through a foreigners eyes. It makes me realize that there is not necessarily a reason for everything we do – sometimes “it’s just because that’s how we have always done it”.

    I enjoy our family parties too and glad I finally got to share one with you 🙂

  2. hahahaha! it sounds sooooo Danish! I attended a couple of weddings and parties in Denmark. Did you get to sing and dance on your chair? It’s supposed to be a southern denmark tradition. Nadya

  3. @Michael: I enjoy your family parties too :). Thanks for insisting we attend!

    @ Nadya: Yeps…I would say it was definitely very Danish! We didn’t get to sing and dance on our chairs though :(. I feel like I missed out now!

  4. […] was then the day of the party. But we couldn’t just spend the day waiting for that. So in the morning we went to Gram where […]

  5. Hhee so funny to watch pictures of some of our “neighbours”, family and friends and hear how you see the danish life and parties 🙂
    Next time promise to come by!!!
    See you 🙂

  6. @Majbritt: we are always so busy visiting people in Denmark! I think Michael knows too many people ;). Our visits are too short to see everyone at one go unfortunately, but we try our best :D.

  7. […] Danish parties they don’t go around shaking hands or giving hugs. Instead you find a place to stand or sit […]

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