Most of us are familiar with the White Christmas celebrations in North America and Britain. However, we tend to forget that Christmas is celebrated differently in other countries, and Denmark is no exception.
Mette Hornung Rankin, a designer and illustrator, has created a list of 24 icons that symbolize a Danish Christmas. Growing up in Madras, Oregon, she observed how her Danish mother clung steadfastly to Danish Christmas traditions, which included “making paper crafts, lighting candles on the tree, and eating the Danish holiday foods.”
However it wasn’t until Rankin moved to Denmark that she realized just how specific Danish Christmas celebrations are. Due to Denmark’s homogeneity, holiday traditions have remained deeply entrenched and free from cultural dilution, and are almost ritualistic. As Rankin notes, “In the USA Christmas is big, but there is always an awareness that many people don’t celebrate it or do it “another way”. In Denmark, there is no “other way” – it’s the Daneway or the highway.”
Her list of 24 icons is fascinating and eye-opening, filled with customs unique to Denmark like kalenderlys, a large candle with 24 numerals that burns down over 24 days leading up to Christmas; pakkeleg, a competitive dice game where players steal each other’s gifts; and risengrød, a rice porridge served with butter, cinnamon and sugar.
Educational and informative, they provide some brain food for thought this festive season. View the 24 icons below and head over to Rankin’s site to learn about them.
[via This Isn’t Happiness, images via Bureau of Betterment]