Rain Rain Go Away

 

Oh my god, guys, am I tired of the Nordic darkness. We were told that it gets old quick after Christmas, without all the holiday hygge, and that is most definitely true.

For the past week it has been overclouded and snaining, our very clever made up word for that snow-sleet-rain weather when it can't really tell which type of precipitation it wants to be. Which means that it never gets lighter than the dark gloom in this photo – taken at 10am – and that you spend every moment you can indoors so as not to get snained in the face.

If this were St. Louis, I could take heart in knowing that the next week would have to bring sunshine because St. Louis' weather is so changeable. One day it's snowing 10 inches and two days later it's 60F and sunny. But here, for all I know this could just be winter in Denmark and there's now change until spring. (Hint: I think that this is just winter in Denmark, so I don't have much hope.)

All I know is that I could really do with some sun. I'm starting to day dream about wide open blue skies and sun drenched plateus. (I'm not the biggest beach person, so when I want sun I think about the American SouthWest. That's my happy place.)

 

Our First Snow

This past Thursday, a second “hurricane force storm” hit Denmark, shutting down traffic and generally disrupting lives. It was named Bodil, and it has its very own Wikipedia page.

While some say – and I would agree, probably because I come from the land of freakishly strong and bipolar weather, the midwest of the US – that the media is way over hyping these winter storms, there was some flooding and some damage caused by the truly strong wind gusts. And it seems that the storm resulted in 7 deaths in Northern Europe, 1 of which was in Denmark. And I will admit that the sound of the wind was pretty crazy to hear as we hid out in our apartment Thursday evening. I don’t think I’ve ever really heard wind that loud or strong before.

But the good part was that right at the end of the storm, Denmark got its very first snow:

It's snowing!

It’s snowing!

I am one of those people who really like snow. I love how peaceful it makes the world look and feel. So the next morning, I grabbed my camera and went out for a walk to document our first snowfall here in Denmark. It’s not that impressive as far as inches (um… centimeters… ahem), but it was still really pretty. (It’s already all gone, boo!)

I’m already hoping for more snow here in Denmark. But I just learned the other day – thanks to the International Community organization here in Aarhus – that there is a very specific rule for when you can declare it a white Christmas (or hvid jul) in Denmark: more than 90% of the country has to be covered in snow on the morning of the 24th (since that’s the day when the Danes open all their presents), and the snow must be at least 1/2 cm deep. Go figure!

So fingers crossed for a hvid jul!

The Snow is Falling!

Merry Christmas and Good Tub'Year. Source: http://spademanns.wikia.com/wiki/Fil:J-dag_wallpaper_1024x768.jpg

Merry Christmas and Good Tub’Year. Source: http://spademanns.wikia.com/wiki/Fil:J-dag_wallpaper_1024x768.jpg

Well, not the real snow. We’re still hanging in around 12°C/54°F most days and haven’t seen snow yet.

This refers to something else that’s happening today, the first Friday in November at exactly 8:59 pm. It’s J-Day (J-dag)! The day when all the breweries in Denmark release their special Christmas brew, or juleøl. The Danes also refer to this time as snowstorm (snestorm) or snowfall (snefald) – the commercials for today all say, “The snow falls on Friday!” (Sneen falder fredag!) – hence the title of my post. It officially kicks off the Christmas season in Denmark.

Tuborg started the whole trend in the 80’s with a blue and white themed animated advertisement. It was so popular, that the next year they made a beer to go along with it, called Julebrug. By now many other breweries have joined in the fun with their own juleøl. {Just a fun fact: Julebrug is only on the market for 10 weeks, but it’s the 4th best selling beer in Denmark!}

J-dag is apparently a really big deal in Denmark,* and the pubs and bars will be full tonight with people celebrating. Apparently, they even dress up in blue and white and decorate with fake snow aka foam. And Carlsberg employees will go around to different bars singing a traditional Tuborg Christmas Brew song and giving away a free beer.

Tuborg getting ready to deliver the Julebrug and jule-fun!

Tuborg getting ready to deliver the Julebrug and jule-fun! Source: http://www.carlsberggroup.com/brands/Pages/Tuborgjulebryg.aspx#.UnNlCJQ6VOF

In fact, Tuborg’s Julebrug has its own Facebook page with 78,000+ likes!

Unfortunately, Brian and I will be in Sweden tonight and will miss out on all the fun. We planned this trip before we had ever heard about J-dag or Julebrug, so we’ll have to catch the festivities next year.

I’ll leave you with a video of the original animated commercial that started all the fuss. The text at the end reads “Merry Christmas and a Happy Tub’year” (like, as a play on Tuborg because Tub’år sounds almost the same).

* Brian asked some of his Danish coworkers about J-dag, and they just kind of rolled their eyes, saying it’s more an excuse for students to get rip-roaring drunk on free beer than anything. I mean, it’s obviously a commercial “holiday,” but the numbers don’t lie. The fact that Julebrug is the 4th selling beer in Denmark despite its limited availability and that J-dag is the best day for Tuborg says to me that the Danes do like their Julebrug.