Tuesday 2 December 2008

Candle in the wind

Candle in the wind, originally uploaded by electrolyte2006.

At the Danish Christmas Fair on Saturday I bought a traditional Danish Advent Candle. You can see it lit here.

These are used in Denmark to count down the days until Christmas; each day you burn off a number until you get to 24. A much nicer tradition than the tacky chocolates you get in advent calendars over here I reckon. So I ban chocolate calendars in my house and buy one of these each year.

Danes* are really keen on a state of being called "hyggelig", pronounced "hew-ger-li". It roughly translates to "cosy", "snug", "nice", "comfortable" but that doesn't really cover it. Danes can be obsessed in making things "hyggelig". I know my mormor (Danish gran) certainly was. And my mor (Mum) was to a certain extent too (even after living in England for 30 years). Lighting candles is part of this. But it is so much more than that. This is my best explanation of what it is. Imagine you are in the prettiest, chocolate box log cabin. It is snowing outside. You are in the cabin and there is a roaring fire making the cabin toasty and warm. And lots of candles and low lighting. Your family are all with you. There is a big meal on the table ready to be eaten. Everyone has a drink in their hand. That is "hyggelig".

Anyway, here is a photo of the whole advent candle so you can get an idea of what it looks like (excuse the arty angle!)

The advent candle

* this time of the year is one of the few times that I feel more Danish than English. I think the Danes do Christmas in a much more low key and stylish way. They don't use multi-coloured lights and don't put huge monstrous lights and blow up Santas on their houses. The only other times in the year when I feel more Danish are when England get knocked out of football tournaments when I then start to support Denmark...

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