Ella – June 3, 2019

It is June, and that can mean only one thing: wedding season has begun!

But before I go any further, let me say that today is WorldBicycleDay, and the Danes are famous for this mode of transportation. Just check out the photo above of an old-fashioned Danish wedding for evidence that this has been the case for quite a while.

A man drives a bike with a child and dog in a carrier in front.

Today is WorldBicycleDay, a day that Danes are most certainly observing, as biking is a very common mode of transportation in Denmark.

This exciting time of year brings ample opportunities to take part in all of the greatest of summer pastimes: biking, dancing, eating, drinking, and spending time with loved ones – and who doesn’t love that?

Wedding season ushers in that joyful and happy feeling that we welcome with anticipation each summer, as long as we’re not the one doing the planning or paying!  No matter the culture, weddings are blissful and jubilant events.

It is always intriguing to learn about the customs and traditions of other cultures. After all, that’s largely what The Hope Chest is all about. There are many unfamiliar marriage customs of the world that may seem somewhat unusual when compared to our own. However, the act of marriage and its historical evolution is quite fascinating (the first surviving written marriage laws date back to 2100 B.C.!).

Many of our Amerikansk brylluptraditioner (American wedding traditions) have been passed down and borrowed from several different cultures. Most of the weddings I attend pay homage to Danske brylluptraditioner (Danish wedding traditions) in some way or another, and I have to say that each time I witness and participate (there is quite a lot of audience participation in a Danish bryllup!), I feel an overwhelming sense of togetherness.

Danish American

As we learned recently in the Hope Chest, cakes of celebration are often decorated with Danish flags. This one celebrates both Denmark and America.

Æresport or “Gate of Honor”

The Danish “Gate of Honor” is built by the families friends of the bride and groom, and the couple marries underneath it.

There are many similarities when it comes to the Danish and American wedding celebration; namely, a lot of fun and dancing, great food, a beautiful bryllupskjole (wedding dress), bouquet toss, and heartfelt speeches. There are also a few differences, which can be quite charming, as well as rather embarrassing!  (One side note: as with most Danish traditions, the location (Jutland, Funen, Zealand) has a large influence on the customs.)

Tillykke (congratulations!) to all you nygifte out there and those soon-to-be!When the bryllupskage (wedding cake) is cut, they share their first piece and then save the top layer in the freezer to celebrate and eat on their 1st anniversary. There are sing-a-longs, lots of jubilant shouts of ”skål!” (cheers!), and plenty of dancing, drinking and Danish hygge to last a lifetime…or at least until the next bryllup!One enchanting Danish wedding tradition is the Æresport, or “Gate of Honor,” built by family and friends and under which the bride and groom marry. After the wedding celebration, there are delicious Danish delicacies, such as suppe, ristet og is (soup, roast and ice cream).  Throughout the meal guests may tap on their wine glasses or stomp their feet until the bride and groom kiss…standing on their chairs!  The brudevals (wedding waltz, or couple’s first dance) isn’t complete without all guests gathered around the nygifte (newlyweds) clapping and literally embracing them until they can no longer move!