“J-DAG! J-DAG! J-DAG!”
“I’m sorry, what?”
Like me, this may have been your first thought as to the title of this post if you are not Danish. In fact, this ‘thing’ came as much of a surprise to myself and a lot of other internationals. But now, my eyes have been opened and I will pass onto you my learned knowledge from the Danes and the internet of what this strange thing could be.
J-Dag stands for ‘Juleøl Dag’ which in English is Christmas Beer Day! Now are you interested? Introduced as a campaign by Tuborg in the early 1980s, the first Friday of November became a national tradition on which the Christmas beers would be released in Denmark. At exactly 20.59, trucks and horse drawn carts would travel the city bringing the beer to the bars and it would be met with huge celebration. In many ways, I could compare this tradition to the Coca-Cola truck that travels the UK, with people waiting for it to visit their cities and towns. However, J-Dag is a much less child-friendly and more student-friendly tradition that gets celebrated a whole lot more. In fact one Dane said it was up there with New Years Eve in terms of how highly they expect to celebrate it! Also labelled as ‘Snowfall’, fake snow can be spread across the streets and the Tuborg employees dress in blue and white with the symbolic blue bobbled Santa hat to hand them out. When I heard about this, as someone incredibly excited by anything Christmas related, I knew I wanted to be a part of it!
While I unfortunately didn’t make it to the city centre, I did get the joy of visiting the Fridaybars at the University and still experience my first Christmas beer. And boy, was it good! As someone who doesn’t particularly like beer, I much preferred the Christmas alternative as a sweeter counterpart. In fact, I can understand how this beer is the fourth bestselling beer in Denmark despite only being sold for 6 weeks of the year! Some of my friends have not been sold by this beer however: it doesn’t taste Christmassy with hints of cinnamon so why is it so great? But I, as much as I can be, have been converted into a Christmas beer drinker, and I know this will be the only kind of beer I will drink until the new year. I would even go so far to say I might even make my own tradition to honour it when I return to England.
On the first Friday of November, I will drink beer.
(mainly because when I leave Denmark I will return to Coke mixers and Jaeger-bombs that are nowhere near as expensive as here)