Where in God’s World is Denmark?
by Tina Tocco
Denmark is a small country in northern Europe located between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Although Denmark’s mainland is attached to Germany’s northern border, it also has several islands. Denmark is about the size of the state of Tennessee. About 25 percent of Danes live in and around Copenhagen, the country’s capital.
Some kids here attend “forest preschool” or “forest kindergarten.” These schools are located in the heart of nature, like the woods. Kids might gather chicken eggs, check compost bins, climb trees, watch chicks hatch, and play in the mud as part of their school day!
Much like areas of the U.S., Denmark has four seasons. Summers can be warm, while winters can be cold and blustery.
Animals you might see here include roe deer, large-antlered red deer, hedgehogs, and hares. More than 300 species of birds live in Demark. Denmark’s waters are filled with fish, especially herring and cod.
About 75 percent of Danish children and teens play a sport. Football (soccer) is the most popular choice. Handball is also extremely popular.
Bicycles are a huge part of Danish culture. Everyone from students to business people hop on their bikes every morning. Parents even transport their children in cargo bikes. In fact, bicycles, not cars, are the most popular way to get around Copenhagen.
Some recipes still enjoyed in Denmark today have been around over 150 years, such as klipfisk (dried cod), øllebrød (rye bread, sugar, and non-alcoholic beer), and flæsk (pork slices and apples fried in pork fat). Danes also enjoy fruit soup and stewed fruits.
Easter in Denmark
Easter Sunday is the most important day of the Danish church year. Easter Sunday (and the next day, Easter Monday) are celebrated by reading from the Gospel of Mark so worshippers can hear the story of the Resurrection. Danish kids also have a special Easter tradition called gækkebreve (“secret snowdrop letters”). They cut paper into decorative patterns and write a poem on it. Then, they draw a snowdrop flower (or include a real flower) and send the letter to a friend. Instead of signing it, the children use dots to represent the number of letters in their name. If the recipient guesses who sent it, the sender must give that person a chocolate Easter egg. If the recipient can’t guess, he or she must give the sender the chocolate egg!
Learn the Language
Danish is Denmark’s official language, though many people here also speak English. Try these Danish words and phrases:
How are you?—Hvordan har du det?
My name is…—Mit navn er…
Today is my birthday!—I dag er min fødselsdag!
Happy birthday!—Tillykke med fødselsdagen!
See you tomorrow!—Vi ses i morgen!
Happy Easter!—God p