Video: Traditional Danish birthday celebration

In some countries and in some religions birthdays are not celebrated. But in Denmark, which is traditionally a protestant, Christian country, we consider birthdays as something very important and a great opportunity to celebrate.

The video below is from my sister Pia’s birthday (on July 10, 2008) and gives you an idea about the way we celebrate birthdays in my family.

In my family (and in many Danish families I know) birthdays are celebrated as the most important day of the year.

Before the birthday itself the birthday "child" makes a wish list with all the things he or she would like to have as a birthday present and gives the list to the members of the family (and perhaps friends depending on relationship).

On the birthday itself the family does everything according to the wish of the birthday child (whether he or she is a child or a grown-up).

The family makes a delicious breakfast before he or she wakes up and then wakes her/him up with the Danish birthday song (see the video). Then she/he opens the presents and eats breakfast.

Lunch is also as special as possible and oftentimes we have friends over in the afternoon for "cake-man", sweets (and fun games if you are a child).

Dinner is also prepared according to the wish of the birthday child and will often be several courses the favourite dishes of the person who has his/her birthday.

When I was a child (and later) I used to look forward to the day long time in advance and it was surely my favourite celebration. It is a celebration of love that your family makes for you and you for them.

10 thoughts on “Video: Traditional Danish birthday celebration”

  1. Hi D

    A traditional Danish breakfast consists of different kinds of bread, Danish cakes, soft boiled eggs, cheese, jam, coffee and juice 🙂

    Best wishes

  2. I am in America- I have a new friend who just moved here who is turning 30. I bought him a peppermill (he is unmarried)- what else can I do to make the day special for him?

  3. Hi Kathy,

    I guess every Danish person celebrates differently. But in my family we put a lot of effort into the food we eat on our birthdays and if we have a chance we like to bake a cake for the birthday “child”. So I might suggest you doing this for your friend.

    Good luck with it. I am sure he will appreciate your efforts in any case. You are very thoughtful.

    Best wishes,

  4. Hi – I read somewhere that it is a birthday tradition in Denmark to fly a flag from the house to show that it is the birthday of someone living in that house. Is it true?

  5. Hi Joy,

    Yes-that’s true. We love our flag tradition and usually also decorate the house with Danish flags when there is a birthday 🙂

    Best wishes,

  6. my favorite birthday present is always stuff toy, i always give cute stuff toys to anyone i know that celebrates his/her birthd :

  7. Hi Tina, My Husbands Relations are Danish and I am learning about Traditions. I loved your video, thankyou x

  8. When and where did the custom of giving a peppermill to unmarried 30 year olds originate – what is the significance? A Danish friend of mine mentioned this custom but could offer no explanation as to why it happens

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