Although missing Thanksgiving is probably the hardest thing a fall semester study abroad student will do, it is made just bearable by the magic of Christmas in Europe. Thanksgiving I spent at a restaurant called Gorm in the glass markets of Copenhagen. It was beautiful with Christmas trees all around the markets and lights inside and outside the building. Although it was pizza, it was a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.
Black Friday I have to admit was not missed too much by myself as I was in Brussels, Belgium on the opening night of their Christmas markets. To celebrate Christmas everyday from 5pm, every 30 min they have a light show in the main square of Brussles. Click Here for a YouTube video I posted of the show.
I also did a little honorary “Black Friday Shopping” at the markets. I won’t say what I bought–in case those I bought for read the blog. But there were rows and rows of little shops all throughout about 6 blocks of streets. The markets all lead up to the skating rink and Ferris wheel. The rink was closed but I went on the Ferris Wheel to get a view of the city.
Finally, Christmas in Copenhagen has not disappointed… not at all. I went to Tivoli with my classmates and we said over and over that we felt like we were at the North Pole. It was probably the most magical place I have been at Christmas time:
The actual Christmas markets in Copenhagen open on December 6th. Thought I should give you a taste of what Christmas is like so far! I have noticed that there are some cultural differences in how they celebrate the holiday season here in Denmark:
- they put their Christmas tree in the middle of the room so that they an dance around it on Christmas Eve
- they exchange gifts Christmas Eve and Christmas day is much more casual
- they never say “Happy Holidays”, what they say always translates to Merry Christmas which perhaps is a reflection of the fact that there is greater demographic difference in the US and more homogeneity her in Denmark
- they use giant red hearts as decoration, evidently symbolizing the heart of Jesus Christ
- on the tree they use real candles instead of lights in family homes frequently which seems dangerous to me since they dance around it, but I’m sure they keep it safe.
They also have special Christmas beer and wine and (like we do) special Christmas baked goods. Looking forward to my last few weeks here. Still cannot believe my time is almost over.