The Dane’s take birthdays seriously!

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

It’s a new week and so that calls for a new blog on my adventures here in Denmark. This past week’s highlight was attending a Danish round birthday. This is a special birthday tradition here whenever someone turns the age that starts the new decade of their life. Turning thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, and so on, is a very big milestone here. Dane’s throw pretty lavish parties and it’s the duty of a family member or a friend of the birthday person to put together said event. Friends and family are the people invited to these sort of events and they could take place in a person’s home or a venue like a restaurant.
For this week’s round birthday celebration, I was invited to attend by my Danish friend’s mom who was turning sixty. Her party was organized by family and it was held at a nice restaurant by the harbor in Aarhus, Denmark. There were about 50 of us or so and we were seated at long tables that fit about ten guests each. For the next four hours we socialized and partaken in unlimited wine and other spirits, as well as a four course meal. One of the notable things I’ve noticed whenever there is a special occasion is the fact that a small miniature Danish flag is used to decorate the tables or in general is part of the birthday decor. Denmark is really prideful of their country flag and so they never miss the opportunity to have it on display. Another observation I made was the countless times we cheered (“Skål” here in Denmark) and everyone had to stop what they were doing and raise their glass to the guest of honor. You can imagine how this would lead to accidents such as drink spilling to happen.
The food for the dinner was very delicious. It’s a rarity that I’ve gotten the opportunity to eat this nice dish so I enjoyed it thoroughly. The first two dishes were fish-based, which unfortunately I don’t eat so I snapped my photos and passed the treats over to my friend to have. Luckily the restaurant was able to replace one of them with a vegetarian option for me so I had an appetizer with onion, apples, artichoke, and some sort of glaze on top. The main course was veal and a potato with portobello mushroom. I’m not capable of explaining how delicious this plate was! It’s very hard to put into words. Then the dessert was a vanilla mousse with a chocolate crumble, some pineapple puree and chocolate puree, then a lemon sorbet with more pineapple. It was a refreshing way to end a really filling and wonderful meal. After the meal, the party did not stop there. Afterwards, everyone shuffled into taxis and we went back to the birthday girl’s house where we partook in more spirits, present opening, and traditional Danish birthday songs. Most of the singing was made up songs that were passed down in the family and it felt really special for me to be able to participate in them. In the sitting room there was also a small dance floor so people had the opportunity to break into pairs to dance and socialize with each other. Overall, the night was very exciting for me and I was very grateful to be able to experience such an intimate and energetic event with my friend and his family. If you ever get a chance to join someone along in some of their traditions, I recommend you always say “YES” and join in, no matter how uncertain you are about how things will end up!