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Insights into the Danish way of life – Week 19

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Glædelig mors dag! For Denmark, Mother’s Day is always celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May, which this year falls on Sunday the 12th. This exact date is the same as the first-ever Mother’s Day in 1929, when officer Christian Svenningsen imported the celebration from the United States. Originally, the intention was to have a noble excuse to collect money for war widows and mothers who had lost children during the war.

Like in many other places, the typical gift from Danish children and partners is flowers. However, the nation has its own unique detail: since 1969, the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Company, Bing & Grøndahl, has been producing a commemorative plate for Mors Dag. Each year, a new edition is released, typically containing a design of an animal and its young ones, paying tribute to the special bond between mother and child. This year, the design is a beaver hugging her cubs with her distinctive tail.

The rest of the year, mothers are “celebrated” by having children-oriented laws that encourage equality and balance. For example, each full-time working parent is entitled to 11 non-transferable weeks of parental leave, with another 26 weeks that can be shared. Depending on the circumstance, parents may also receive child benefits from the state, known as børnepenge.

Motherhood laws also put an emphasis on emotional support, and here’s where “mother groups” come into play. Aside from receiving regular visits from home nurses, new mothers are “matched” with other women who gave birth around the same time to facilitate support, company and friendships between women and babies. As language can be a barrier, hospitals typically bring international mothers together. The Danish Refugee Council is also currently working on organizing local groups specifically tailored to the needs of mothers who are new to Denmark.

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