Denmark has several public holidays in 2012, which are known as helligdage.
Below you will find a list of the various public days and the date they are held. Most are held in the first part of the year and than there is a long dry spell until November and December.
January 1, 2012 is Nytårsdag or New Years Day and all business are closed on that day. (this falls on a Saturday)
February 19, 2012 is Fastelavn or Shrovetide, which is a celebration with children dressing up in costumes and beating up a barrel with a stick. Fastelavn is celebrated on the Sunday before Lent. Businesses do not close on this day.
March 25, 2012 is not a holiday, but it is the start of summertime and all clocks are set forward an hour.
April 1, 2012 is Aprilsnar or April Fools' Day and in like so many other countries, this is a day for pulling pranks on your friends and colleagues. Everyone seems to get on the act, even the media and politicians. Businesses are open.
April 9 is called Occupation Day or Besættelse Dag and commemorates the day that German started the occupation of Denmark.
Påske or Easter consists of 4 days and all businesses are closed during this time. Businesses are open on the Saturday between the 4-day hellidage.
April 1 is Palm Sunday and is the start of the Easter season.
April 5, 2012 is Skærtorsdag or Maundy Thursday, commemorating the last supper.
April 6, 2012 is Langfredag or Good Friday commemorating the Crucifixion of Christ.
April 8, 2012 is Påskedag or Easter Sunday commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus.
April 9, 2012 is 2 påskedag or 2nd Easter Day and comes on the Monday following Easter Sunday.
May 1 is Arbejdernes Kampdag / Labour Day and a free day from work. Celebrates the social and economic improvements for workers.
April 16th is the Queen's birthday and tho it is NOT a holiday, many people do take the day off to go visit the Queen and wish her happy birthday. Royal birthdays are still very popular in Denmark and celebrated my many Danes.
May 4, 2012 is called Store Bededag or Great Prayer Day and is to celebrate the various prayer days and is always on the 4th Friday after Easter. All businesses are closed. It is a tradition to go the local bakery the night before St. Bededag and get "varme hveder" or wheat rolls to eat with melted butter and jam. On May 29th you will find long lines at your bakery getting these treats - join in, because not much else happens on this holiday.
May 5 is Befrielse Dag / Liberation of Denmark from German, Denmark celebrates Liberation, when the German troops surrendered on 4th May 1945 and freedom took effect on May 5. Not a day off work holiday, but a celebration day.
May 17, 2012 is Kristi Himmelfartsdagor Ascension Day is held 40 days after Easter Sunday.
May 27, 2012 is Pinsedag or Whit Sunday, which is held 50 days after Easter and celebrates the birth of the church.
May 28, 2012 is 2nd Pinsedag or Whit Monday and is part of the Whitsun celebrations. Businesses are closed.
June 5, 2012 is Grundlovsdag:or Constitution Day and celebrates the signing of the Danish Constitution in 1849. All businesses close at 12noon.
June 15, 2012 is Flag Day or Valdemars Dag, which is the date when the flag fell from the skies and Denmark got its flag. This is not a free day .. still got to work.
June 23, 2012 is Sankthansaften or Midsummer Night and is celebrated with bonfires all over Denmark; it is again not a public holiday, where businesses close.
October 28, 2012 marks the end of summertime and the clocks go back an hour on this day.
November 10, 2012 is Mortens Aften, which is a unique celebration to Denmark. The Danes will eat goose or duck for their evening meal in honour of the legend of Bishop Martin of Tours. The story goes that the missionary hid out in a goose shed to avoid being consecrated as a bishop. But the geese started cackling and gave away his hiding place. So he declared that every November 10, geese should be served as the main meal in order to get back at them for their deception.
The first Sunday of December is the start of the Christmas Holidays and this is a good time to start brushing up on your singing and learning a few good Danish Christmas SongsThis first Sunday or advent Sunday is not a legal holiday. But you should be aware of the tradition if living in Denmark, since you might be invited over for traditional Danish cookies and gløg!
December 13, 2012 is Saint Lucia Day /Sankta Lucia and is heralded by parades of girls dressed in white and carrying lit candles. This is based on a Swedish tradition, celebrating the martyr, Sancta Lucia, who distributed food to the beggars before the New Years Fast.
The parade is led by one girl, Lucia Queen, wearing a crown of candles and the girls all singing the Lucia song. It is well worth attending a church service this day to be part of this celebration.
December 24, 2012 is Juleaftensdag or Christmas Eve, the day that most Danes celebrate Christmas. You can find out more about a traditional Danish Christmas below.
December 25, 2012 is Juledag or Christmas Day If you are in Copenhagen, you will want to take in some of these Copenhagen Christmas events December 26, 2012 is 2. Juledag or Boxing Day and stores are not usually open. Grocery stores are open, but the major stores do not open until the 27th, when many of the sales start.
and finally we have
December 31, 2012 which is New Years Eve or Nytårsaften.
School vacations will vary a bit from year to year, but here is a general guideline. It is best to use the week numbers versus the dates, since holidays are based on week numbers. If you are unfamiliar with the week numbers check out Danish Week Numbers.
School starts on January 2, 2012 (week 1)
Winter School Holiday usually starts in (week 7), which is February 13 - 19, 2012
Easter Break / Påskeferie: April 9 -15, 2012 (week 15)
Summer School Holiday: June 18 - August 5, 2012 (week 25 - 32),
Autumn School Holiday / Efterårsferie: Oct 15- 21,2012 (week 42),
Christmas holiday / Juleferie - December 22 - Jan 3, 2013 (week 51)
Now if you have children attending school, it is always best to check with your school to make sure they are on the same schedule. This is only a general guide and should be pretty close to your school. The school holiday dates start with the first full free day and end with the last free day.
For example: Some schools start earlier back from summer break and some a bit later.
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