Happy J-Day!!

Posted by on November 7, 2014

Happy Friday everybody!

Today is an especially happy Friday in Copenhagen because it is J-Day! Or, in other words, it’s the start of the Christmas season in Denmark. (I know, I know. It can’t be Christmas until after we’ve loosened our pants to make room for more turkey and watched the DVR of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But the poor Danes, they don’t know the beauty that is the fourth Thursday of every November. So instead they have a holiday for the first Friday. Gotta give ’em what we can.)

Taken directly from the Carlsberg site:

The annual launch [of julebryg beer] in Denmark, known as “J-Day”, takes place the first Friday in November and is a day of celebration across Denmark. Carlsberg employees drive around to bars and cafés singing a traditional Tuborg Christmas Brew song and handing out a free beer to the guests to mark the start of the festive season.

The J-Day event in Denmark was established in 1990 as a tradition. Today the event is so large that the Danish spelling dictionary has included in its next dictionary published in 2011 with the following description: “J-Day is the day, a brewery’s Christmas beer comes on the market.” 

Isn’t that great? A whole celebration dedicated to the release of the Christmas brew? The streets of Copenhagen are currently, as I type and breathe, decorated with fake snow and mini Christmas trees. It’s very hygge. What’s more, the brewery advertises J-Day (as if they needed the marketing help) with an adorable little cartoon of Santa Claus.

This cheery display is right outside of my architecture studio! I can't lie, the bars' Christmas decorations are kind of making my day.

This cheery display is right outside of my architecture studio! I can’t lie, the bars’ Christmas decorations are kind of making my day.

In honor of the start of the Christmas season, and in deference to our rapidly-approaching return to the States, my floor has decided to decorate for the holidays after class today! I’m very excited. Tia is determined to wrap everyone’s door in cheerful, colorful Christmas paper. And Akshi and I are collecting scissors so we can cut out a bajillion paper snowflakes.

BUT, speaking of Christmas, my Danish class discussed the role of religion in Danish culture this morning. We watched this video. And looked at statistics that state, while 80-something% of Americans believe in life after death/heaven, the percentage of Danes who share this belief falls between 10-18%. I found this article from the Copenhagen Post in support of our class discussion.

When we arrived in Copenhagen (way back in August), we were informed that religion is a taboo topic in Denmark. It is considered by most to be a personal matter. So I haven’t talked to many Danes (read: I’ve talked to none) about their faith. But I’ve been watching. Very few people go to church – actually, so few people go to church that the buildings have been converted and repurposed. I’ve been to a church-turned-bar, and our LLC planned to visit a church-turned-gallery.

I’m Catholic (wooooooooo!), and luckily I’ve never had trouble finding a Mass. But there aren’t many of us Catholics here in Denmark. The entire country, plus Greenland and the Farrow Islands, is one diocese and has one bishop. That’s pretty small. For reference, the United States has 195 dioceses and 266 active bishops (so not counting retired bishops or cardinals). Admittedly, the United States is a lot bigger than Denmark, but still.

Anyway. Just a little bit of cultural background to spice up J-Day.

In other news, the Pit is alive and well! This photo is from last night. Some of the girls on my floor have started a pattern of watching American Horror Story together. I don’t stay for that, no way no how, but they’re pretty cute anyway, huh?

The Pit! Full of some of my favorite people in Copenhagen.

The Pit! Full of some of my favorite people in Copenhagen.

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