14 December: The Christmas will be a big reunion

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Ester Salem is an international student from Belgium and studies sustainability, entrepreneurship and marketing. She travels back home to Belgium to celebrate Christmas.

2019.12.14 | Anna Bech Sørensen

Graphics: Astrid Reitzel

The Omnibus Advent Calendar:

The Advent calendar is a treasured Danish Christmas tradition. In many families, kids get to open a small gift each day all December until Christmas Eve, when Christmas is celebrated.

Our small holiday gift to you is a chance to meet one of AU’s many international students and employees every day until Christmas.

All 24 will share where they’re spending Christmas this year, their favorite (and least favorite) Christmas traditions from their home countries,  and what’s most annoying – or surprising – about Christmas in Denmark.

How are you going to celebrate Christmas this year?

I will go back to Belgium and celebrate Christmas with my parents and my brother. We were both abroad this past semester so it will be a big reunion for us (me in Denmark and my brother in the US). I guess we will both bring something traditional back from Denmark and the US which will make our Christmas celebration more international. I'm very excited for it!

What is the best / worst Christmas tradition from your home country?

We have two Santa Claus figures (just like the Dutch): Sinterklaas (or Saint Nicholas) and Kerstman (Père Nöel). We celebrate Sinterklaas first, at the beginning of December. Children put their shoes near the fireplace with a carrot for Sinterklaas' horse. The next morning, the carrot has been replaced with either chocolate or a small gift. On the 5th-6th December, Belgian families gather for a big dinner to celebrate Saint-Nicholas' birthday.

What do you think is the most annoying thing about Danish Christmas?

The fact that they start putting up decorations so early! They started decorating malls and shops around the city when Halloween wasn't even over yet! I was really surprised by this, but then my Danish roommate explained to me the tradition of J-day and how important it is to the Danes. I wouldn't say it's an annoying thing, but it was just unexpected for me to begin feeling the Christmas vibe so early.


- Joyeux Noël!

The Omnibus Advent Calendar:

The Advent calendar is a treasured Danish Christmas tradition. In many families, kids get to open a small gift each day all December until Christmas Eve, when Christmas is celebrated.

Our small holiday gift to you is a chance to meet one of AU’s many international students and employees every day until Christmas.

All 24 will share where they’re spending Christmas this year, their favorite (and least favorite) Christmas traditions from their home countries,  and what’s most annoying – or surprising – about Christmas in Denmark.

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