In early November I began to hear rumors and mumblings at work about this year's Julefrokost. Julefrokost is the office Christmas party, or Christmas Lunch and it is a big deal! First, it is important to understand, Christmas Lunches are NOT lunches. My Lunch began at 2pm and went until midnight! And, many of my colleagues went out to bars after that! The public transportation runs all night, so everyone knows they can stay out all night. In fact, the metro (subway) has cards you can stick to your coat with your stop on it in case you fall asleep/pass out -- the conductors will wake you up when you arrive at your stop! The Christmas lunches are also controversial because wives and husbands are not invited -- the night of the Christmas Lunch is called the Night of Affairs!
I arrived at my campus canteen at 2 and was handed a glass of champagne. The hall was BEAUTIFULLY decorated with lots of Christmas candles and decorations. The Danes do love their candles! After welcoming speeches, a choir performance (don't know where they are from... everything was in Danish), and a"comedy routine" (don't know if it was funny... everything was in Danish!) we finally sat down and had our lunch. Lunch began with several types of herring and rye bread (several of which were actually pretty good... and by this point I was very hungry!). Then we had a buffet of traditional Christmas Lunch foods including country style liver pate with crispy bacon, comfit of duck, roast pork, cabbage, selection of cheeses and a special Christmas rice pudding called ris à l’amande, all lubricated with Christmas beer and snaps. The meal lasted several hours and we were entertained with another comedy routine and a very good jazz band. Once everyone was full and drunk, the dancing began. Now, remember, these are only work colleagues. I figured I would avoid most of the dancing... just a bit too much for me. But, I was wrong. Everyone dances. And, I did. I danced for several hours until they brought out another live rock band and hot snacks for us to eat (which was good because I was hungry again!). I finally biked home around midnight (I left a bit early).
It was a nice time... and a great cultural experience. I have really friendly colleagues and most workers in Denmark make collegiality a priority (lunches together etc.). I wish I had pictures to share with you, but there was a clearly understood but unspoken rule at the Christmas Lunch... what happens at the lunch stays at the lunch!
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