Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas in Denmark

Merry Christmas, y’all.

Steen has been keeping me supplied with seasonal photographs from Denmark. Yesterday he went to a Juleaften (Christmas Eve) service at Tibirke Kirke. Here’s a brief video he took of part of the service:

Steen has this to say about the video:

It’s dark because there were only candle lights in the church — and the organ is too loud because I moved to the back of the church next to the small organ.

We sang six psalms — three times. It took a toll on my voice.

The tune used in the video is clearly the one I’ve always known as “The Crusaders’ Hymn”. The words are in Danish, but I assume the congregation is singing one of the psalms to that tune.

Steen sent photos as well, and through the magic of digital enhancement I’ve brightened up this photo taken inside Tibirke Kirke during the service:

Tibirke Kirke

It’s a tradition at Snaphanen to post Christmas-season photos of Copenhagen. The one below shows night-time skating at the rink in Kongens Nytorv (literally, “The King’s New Square”):

Copenhagen Christmas

Here’s another view of the same square in the daytime:

Kongens Nytorv

This is what Steen had to say about the square:

All those houses round the Kongens Nytorv are buildings from the 1600s. They are all treated as though they were built only last year.

And what about the guards in the tall hats marching by in the foreground?

Those are Den Kongelige Livgarde, the Royal Life Guards. They just happened to be there. They always march from the barracks to the castle, every day at 11:00am.

Notice the length of the shadows in the photo. Assuming that the Royal Life Guards are punctual, it was taken just an hour before high noon. The fact that the sun can be so close to the horizon in the middle of the day is a reminder of how far north Denmark is.

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Dymphna’s Christmas present to me was level 1 of an intensive course in the Danish language put out by Rosetta Stone. It comes on two DVDs, and once installed on my computer, it will teach me Danish with full audiovisual assistance using a microphone/headphone setup.

So, finally, I will learn to talk like my mouth is full of cake batter! But will Steen be able to understand me?

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Did you think I would get through an entire post without any jihad references? Not likely!

Below the jump (because he’s not PG-13) is Ahmed the Dead Terrorist’s Christmas Show:
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Once again, the hat tip goes out to Steen for this one.

Go easy on the eggnog. See you tomorrow.


Paul said...

Thanks for posting the video from the Christmas Eve service in Copenhagen. I'd know that song Fairest Lord Jesus in any language. Thanks for the blessing.

Cincinnatus said...

Christmas is for Santa and presents and having fun. Silly to go to church on Christmas as the holiday has nothing to do with Jesus, and predates Christianity back into the dawn of time.

In the earliest days, it was found that the year is 360 days long plus about 5 extra days. The extra days didn't fit into the schedule (360 is such a lovely number, divisible almost any way you want -- as a matter of fact, that's why there's 360 degrees in a circle), so they made it into a end-of-year holiday. Ho ho ho! Nothing to do with Christ. Merry Xmas!

lowandslow said...

I hope everyone here at GoV had a wonderful Christmas and my best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Dymphna said...

On my planet Christmas is for presents and Santa and having fun going to church to sing Christmas carols.

When I'm God, dear man, I will make sure you join me in the merriment of singing off key.

Zenster said...

Glade jul til alles!

Merry Christmas to all!

Being half Danish—my mother was born in Copenhagen—this particular article is close to my heart. Believe it or not, I grew up dancing around a Christmas tree lit with real candles. Here's wishing everyone at Gates of Vienna the warmest of holiday cheer. May you and your loved ones have the very best of celebrations.

Now I've got to scurry back into the kitchen and fuss over my latest experiment: Roasting a turkey that is completely swaddled in fruitwood smoked bacon. This may be a new method of self-basting and, if not, it will certainly make the finest instant club sandwiches!

no2liberals said...

Some beautiful images of Christmas.
My sincerest best wishes for everyone at GoV.
Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Doug said...

Mele Kalikimaka from the (Is)Land of Short Shadows!

Doug said...

Winter Solstice
ht Charles

Mars and Orion Over Monument Valley

Comet McNaught 2006 P1, Chiro Observatory in Western Australia

Heavenly Comet and Earthly Fingers

Cincinnatus said...

Thanks Dymphna, but singing (and whistling) on-key is one of my useful skills, altho not appreciated by my children for some inexplicable reason. But see the history of Christmas on here . Merry Xmas to all!

Steen said...

We call the song "Dejlig er Jorden" (text:http://www.ugle.dk/dejlig_er_jorden.html ) i see that its a Schlesian "folk psalm" from 1842 called Schönster Herr Jesu.

PS: The church is not in the capital but a small village church in the north of Zealand - from 1120 a.c., but built on a much older heathen place of sacrifice (Tisvilde = Ti = Tyr , old nordic good.)

penn's woods said...

Cincinnatus... Christmas on the calendar of the Roman Catholic and high church Anglican Church calendar means CHRIST'S MASS.. Get it?

X said...

A much briefer history of christmas: The new converts of Rome felt that they would like to keep their existing social calendar and simply mapped important christian events onto it, including the celebration of Christ's birth on to saturnalia, which traditionally celebrated the birth of the new year and some god or other. Similar stories can be found anywhere in europe as christianity spread.

So that's what it is, and has been for the past 2000 years. Getting petty about its meaning now is out of character with the season. Be merry! We're celebrating our freedom to celebrate as much as anything else.

God jul! (belatedly)