Countdown to Christmas - Danish Scandinavian traditions
J – dag – a traditional celebration in Copenhagen and the rest of Denmark.
The season’s first snowflakes have already dropped in Denmark as we prepare for the Christmas season. The Danes take Christmas traditions very seriously, of which there are many, but one that stands out is the launch of the Tuborg Christmas brew, the so-called J-dag.
You may ask what is J-dag and what does it mean for the Danes?
Juleøl is the Danish word for Christmas beer, hence J-day. The beer not only marks the official beginning of the holiday season, but with an average of 5.7% alcohol level it gives anyone a reason to party!
Tuborg launched the first J-day in 1990 in relation to the launch of the Christmas beer, however Christmas brews in Denmark were made in the early 1900s as well. J-day originally occurred on a Wednesday, until secondary school teachers and employers complained that classrooms and offices were empty the next day. It later switched to the first Friday of November.
Whilst Tuborg is the original brewers of the Julebryg, today most breweries create their own version.
Preparations for J-day starts well in advance with the unique Tuburg cartoon Christmas commercial flooding our TV screens and the whole day leads up to the 20:59, where the first snow of the season traditionally falls. Temperatures often sink to below zero at this time of year, but if it does not, trucks pump out gallons of fake snow on the streets of Copenhagen to get everyone in the right mood.
As the nation’s bartenders count down to 8.59pm, the vast majority of Carlsberg dressed up employees, the Tuborg elves, are preparing to visit 400 locations to distribute free samples and festive merchandise. No bar will serve the brew prior to the official time.
It is a yearly event much loved by the Danes and it seems to get bigger and bigger by the year and has also spread to Sweden, Serbia and as far as Japan.
And a few months later is the celebration of the Easter brew!
Skål and Season Greetings from Denmark.