4 December: "Everything in moderation"

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Müge Özbek Akçay, postdoc at the Department of Psychology and behavioural Sciences, is from Turkey where the majority do not celebrate Christimas. However, Christmas time is her favourite time of the year in Denmark.

2019.11.29 | 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?

Well, Christmas time is my favourite time of the year in Denmark. I have 2 Christmas, or more correctly lillejuleaften, dinners scheduled on December 22 and 23. One will take place at my friend Birgitte’s house with her family. I was Birgitte’s tenant for 5 months when I moved to Denmark 5 years ago. Since then we have had a close relationship. I have learned a lot about Danish culture from her.

The other one will take place at my friend Johanna’s house. Johanna and I met on the Danish language course. As two internationals in Aarhus, we enjoy the nice Danish Christmas traditions like having gløgg downtown in the Christmas market or having Christmas dinner and singing Christmas songs.

On the actual Christmas day though, I will be travelling to Turkey to see my family :-)

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

In Turkey, the majority do not celebrate Christmas. For my family in Istanbul, December 24 is not a special day. Instead, New Year’s Eve takes the center stage and the days leading to that night are full of excitement. People are usually busy planning a family dinner or a party with friends. You see decorations on the streets and the New Year lottery is still kind of a big thing.

I think the worst thing is the fireworks over the Bosphorus at midnight, because they harm or kill the birds.

What do you think is most annoying about Danish Christmas?

As I said, I like Christmas time in Denmark. However, I really do not get the excessive shopping part. Especially when gifts take the form of expensive ‘things’. Experiences bring more joy and meaning to life than having expensive ‘things’. Therefore, I wish more people would consider giving an experience as a gift to their loved ones. Such as a gift card for a theater play or a concert. I would like to remind people of a noteworthy Danish value in relation to this: Alt med måde (Everything in moderation, ed.) :-)

- Mutlu noeller!

Tranlated by Lenore Messisk og Anne Harling Krag

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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