Public holidays in Denmark

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Law regarding mandatory shop closing (Lukkelov); three additional shop closing days are mentioned in section Other special days.

Public holidays[edit]

Date English Name Danish Name Remarks
1 January New Year's Day Nytårsdag  
The Thursday before Easter Sunday Maundy Thursday Skærtorsdag  
The Friday before Easter Sunday Good Friday Langfredag  
March/April Easter Sunday Påskedag  
The day after Easter Sunday Easter Monday 2. Påskedag  
The 4th Friday after Easter General Prayer Day Store Bededag A collection of minor Christian holy days consolidated into one day. The name translates literally from Danish language, "Great Prayer Day".
39 days after Easter Ascension Day Kristi Himmelfartsdag  
7 weeks after Easter Pentecost Pinsedag This is a Sunday. Danes celebrate two days of Whitsun.
7 weeks +1 day after Easter Whit Monday 2. Pinsedag This is a Monday. Danes celebrate two days of Whitsun.
25 December First Day of Christmas Juledag / 1. juledag Danes celebrate three days of Christmas, starting early on December 24 in the evening.
26 December Second Day of Christmas 2. juledag  

Other special days[edit]

Some of these days derive from politics, and some from Roman Catholic traditions that predate the current national church. Some are simply the Scandinavian tradition of starting the celebrations of a special day on the evening before the actual day.

Date English Name Danish Name Remarks
5 February Crown Princess Mary's birthday Kronprinsesse Marys fødselsdag This is not celebrated a lot, yet, but one day she may become the Queen (Consort) of Denmark.
6 February Princess Marie's birthday Prinsesse Maries fødselsdag Outside of the royal house there is no particular tradition for celebrating on this day.
Seven weeks before Easter Sunday Fastelavn Fastelavn Diminished version of the catholic Carnival. On the following day, Fastelavnsmandag, children go to school dressed up in costume and go door-to-door for candy and sweets. A popular baked good associated with the day is Fastelavnsbolle (lit. Fastelavns bun), a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and filled with cream.  
Sunday before Easter Sunday Palm Sunday Palmesøndag  
1 April April Fools' Day 1. April The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, enemies and neighbors, or sending them on fools' errands, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible.
9 April Occupation of Denmark Danmarks besættelse Historic date. This was the day when Germany invaded Denmark in World War II. Flags on flagpoles must be at half mast until 12:00, to indicate the mourning, after that it goes to full mast to indicate that Denmark is a free country today.
16 April Birthday of Queen Margrethe II Dronningens fødselsdag The Queen is usually celebrated in some places, and she will appear either on her balcony at Amalienborg Palace or outside of Marselisborg Palace depending on where she spends her birthday.
29 April Princess Benedikte's Bday Prinsesse Benedikte fødselsdag Outside of the royal house there is no particular tradition for celebrating on this day.
1 May International Workers' Day Arbejdernes kampdag / 1. maj Left-wing political day. Many people try to get a day off this day, and some even have it in their employment contract. Many people attend political meetings in the morning arranged by the labour unions or the labour parties, afterwards demonstrations are held all over the country, going from the place of the meeting and joining each other along the way to a joint meeting place, often a park. The demonstrations can differ in size from a few hundred to ten-thousands depending on the city and organization. The day is also known as "Arbejdernes kamp og festdag" (Workers day of struggle and celebration) referring to the celebration of the past victories of the workers movement, especially the 8-hours working day. Many, both families and young people, meet at the sites of the political meetings holding picnics and drink beer and other alcoholic beverages. Copenhagen's Fælledparken is well known for its annual May 1 celebrations, gathering an average of a hundred thousand people at the meeting of the central Labour Union "LO"[1]. This is a full holiday for blue collar workers, but not for white collar workers.
5 May Liberation day Danmarks befrielse Historic date. This was the day that the German forces surrendered in Denmark under World War II. However, the island of Bornholm was not liberated on this date - instead, the occupation continued until the Red Army liberated the island. Afterwards the USSR held control of the island for a time, before it were rejoined with the rest of Denmark. The day is marked by public memorial ceremonies for fallen members of the Danish resistance, and by demonstrations of the left-wing, both in memory of the communist resistance fighters and also carrying slogans of peace and solidarity linking the struggle in the past with new ones today.
26 May Birthday of Crown Prince Frederik Kronprins Frederiks fødselsdag This is not celebrated a lot, yet, but one day he will become the King of Denmark.
5 June Constitution Day (Denmark) Grundlovsdag The signing of the Danish constitution in 1849. Some people attend meetings with speeches, often outdoor, where politicians or other public figures will elaborate their view on the constitution, history and the current state of the nation. This day probably is the closest equivalence to an actual national day. Elderly, middle class and right-of-centre people often regard this day more important than May 1. With few exceptions, all shops stay closed on Grundlovsdag by law.[1]
7 June Birthday of Prince Joachim Prins Joachims fødselsdag This is not celebrated a lot.
11 June Birthday of Prince Henrik Prins Henriks fødselsdag This is not celebrated a lot.
15 June Day of Valdemar and Reunion day Valdemarsdag and Genforeningsdag Celebration of Valdemar II of Denmark's victory in a battle in Estonia in 1219, at which Denmark's national flag Dannebrog fell from the skies. It is also the date on which Danes celebrate that Sønderjylland in 1920 was reunited with the rest of Denmark after a referendum, thus held in high regard in that part of the country. Next to Grundlovsdag, an equivalence to an actual national day, but is less widely known and celebrated today than before.
23 June Saint John's Eve Sankt Hans aften Pre-Christianity celebration day, celebrating summer solstice on June 24. Sankt Hans (Johannes) is the Danish name of St. John the Baptist. The day is celebrated with a bonfire on the evening before. See the Denmark section under Midsummer
31 October Halloween Allehelgensaften According to superstition, the 31 October is the night when witches, ghosts and dark forces are set loose to disgrace the saints celebrated on the following Allehelgensdag.
10 November The eve before Saint Martin's day Mortensaften 11 November is a Catholic day. Sankt Morten is the Danish name of Saint Martin of Tours. According to legend, Martin was forced to become a bishop by his parishioners and tried to hide in a barn. However, the noise of the geese gave him away. For this reason, but probably in reality because of the goose slaughtering season, it is tradition to eat a goose dinner, although over time duck has become a more practical dish on this occasion.
13 December Saint Lucy's Day Sankta Lucia Catholic day that was located on winter solstice before the European calendar reform. Revived in Sweden in 1928, and in Denmark from the 1940s.
24 December Christmas Eve Juleaften The celebration of Christmas in Denmark starts in the evening, traditionally with a Christmas tree, exchanging presents and having dinner with the family. With few exceptions, all shops stay closed by law on Juleaftensdag, the day of Juleaften.[1]
31 December New Year's Eve Nytårsaften Mostly celebrated with friends or family, a homemade gourmet dinner and often liberal amounts of alcohol. The Queen traditionally holds a televised speech at 6 PM. Midnight is celebrated with champagne, kransekage (an almond cake consisting of piled rings) and private displays of fireworks. With few exceptions, all shops stay closed by law from 3 PM on Nytårsaftensdag, the day of Nytårsaften.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Law regarding mandatory shop closing (Lukkelov)

External links[edit]