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Expat in Germany: J Day in Denmark

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

J Day in Denmark

Christmas comes early to Denmark every year.  It arrives in Denmark the first Friday in November at 20:59, in the form of “J Day”, which comes from the Danish word for Christmas beer.  This is Santa as you’ve never seen him before.  Instead of a big ol jolly guy wearing a red suit, “Santa” in Denmark is dressed not only in blue, but in a considerable more risqué blue suit, usually taking the form of blue lingerie topped with a bobbing blue light up Santa cap for the girls and blue boxers for the guys and instead of handing out the infamous blue brew Tubourg, known as the Christmas beer.  
 What’s so special about the Christmas beer?  Well according to Copenhagen local, Lars, who  was getting an early start on J Day, it has more alcohol, than regular beer but he wasn’t sure how much more.  The bar tender checked for me and it turns out J Day beer has 5.6% alcohol,  1% higher than regular beer. Despite the higher alcohol content Lars admitted he wasn't a fan of the taste of J Day beer, although that didn't stop him from celebrating J Day.

J Day beer is also brewed with a unique blend of ingredients, as we were informed by a local brew master,   J Day beer “... is made with all the same ingredients as pumpkin pie – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and of course cloves.”  Now, I'm allergic to beer, but my curiosity was so piqued, that I couldn't resist taking a small sip and yes it did indeed remind me of pumpkin pie.  Fortunately for me, I don't like pumpkin pie.
One of the many J Day beer trucks handing out free beer, but no skimpy clothing, likely because it was rather cold out.
 But what really makes J Day so special are all the celebrations and on occasion, free beer.  J Day is a huge celebration rivaling that of New Year’s Eve and celebrated all over Denmark.   As we strolled through Strøget, the oldest pedestrian street in Europe, everyone was in a festive mood singing Christmas carols in both Danish and English and trying to score one of the blue light up Santa Hats, which we searched out  thanks to a local who showed us where they were handing them out.
The streets are crowded on J Day and this guy was lucky enough to find a celebration J Day hat!

But the real highlight of J Day for me?  Being mistaken for a local as a tourist came up to me and said “Why is everyone wearing blue hats?”

You may also be interested in:
 My Top Ten Experiences in Denmark

Top 10 Things to Experience in Odense Denmark
The Tinderbox, Where Children's Dreams Come to Life in Denmark

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At November 9, 2010 at 9:39 PM , Anonymous Zoe said...

Any country that can make Christmas come earlier gets two-thumbs up from me! I had no idea about J-Day, thank you for the post.

At November 10, 2010 at 9:39 AM , Blogger Expat in Germany said...

Agreed! I had never heard of it either until I arrived in Copenhagen.


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