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Insights into the Danish way of life – Week 20


On Monday, May 20, we will be celebrating the national holiday of Pinse (Pentecost or Whit Monday). The date is held 50 days after Easter, when Christians remember that the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ disciples and enabled them to speak “all tongues.” For both religious and non-religious Danes, this holiday typically also speaks the language of… warmth. Historically, it has marked the intersection between winter and summer, and the weather forecast tells us this year will be no exception.

Back in the day, Danes would go on a “Pentecost forest trip,” a tradition that consisted of tasty food and getting new summer clothes. If you still haven’t done your closet change over, the time is now. Put the winter things away and get your swim suits ready. Although the famous summer bonfires take place during Sankt Hans (mid-June), it used to be common to also see many fires lit on this day.

Today, the holiday of Pentecost is the annual date for the Royal Run, a race where civilians get to run with members of the royal family. Fitting with Denmark’s low-profile customs, there is nothing like meeting your king in running shoes. This year will be HM Frederik X’s first Royal Run as head of State, and the organizing cities will be Brønderslev, Aarhus, Fredericia, Kalundborg and Copenhagen/Frederiksberg. Click on the names to take a look at the routes. As a participant, you can choose to walk or run the three distances: one mile (1.6km), 5km or 10km.

Last but not least, Aalborg Carnival will take place on Saturday, May 25. The festivity dates back to 1983 and is one of Denmark’s largest cultural events, with up to 60,000 participants in the Grand Parade and more than 100,000 spectators alongside the parade route. This year, the theme will be “Fantastic Creatures.”

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