Public holidays in Denmark

Public holidays in Denmark

Law regarding mandatory shop closing (Lukkelov); three additional shop closing days are mentioned in section Other special days.


Public holidays

Date English Name Danish Name Remarks
January 1 New Year's Day Nytårsdag  
The Thursday before Easter Sunday Maundy Thursday Skærtorsdag  
The Friday before Easter Sunday Good Friday Langfredag  
March/April Easter Sunday Påskedag  
The day after Easter Sunday Easter Monday 2. Påskedag  
The 4th Friday after Easter General Prayer Day Store Bededag A collection of minor Christian holy days consolidated into one day. The name translates literally from Danish language, "Great Prayer Day".
40 days after Easter Ascension Day Kristi Himmelfartsdag  
7 weeks after Easter Whit Sunday Pinsedag This is a Sunday. Danes celebrate two days of Whitsun.
7 weeks +1 day after Easter Whit Monday 2. Pinsedag This is a Monday. Danes celebrate two days of Whitsun.
December 25 First Day of Christmas Juledag / 1. juledag Danes celebrate three days of Christmas, starting early on December 24 in the evening.
December 26 Second Day of Christmas 2. juledag  

Other special days

Some of these days derive from politics, and some from Roman Catholic traditions that predate the current national church. Some are simply the Scandinavian tradition of starting the celebrations of a special day on the evening before the actual day.

Date English Name Danish Name Remarks
February 5 Crown Princess Mary's birthday Prinsesse Marys fødselsdag This is not celebrated a lot, yet, but one day she may become the Queen (Consort) of Denmark.
Seven weeks before Easter Sunday Fastelavn Fastelavn Diminished version of the catholic Carnival. On the following day, Fastelavnsmandag, children go to school dressed up in costume and go door-to-door for candy and sweets. A popular baked good associated with the day is Fastelavnsbolle (lit. Fastelavns bun), a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and filled with cream.  
Sunday before Easter Sunday Palm Sunday Palmesøndag  
April 1 April Fools' Day 1. April The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, enemies and neighbours, or sending them on fools' errands, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible.
April 9 Occupation of Denmark Danmarks besættelse Historic date. This was the day when Germany invaded Denmark in World War II. Flags on flagpoles must be at half mast until 12:00, to indicate the mourning, after that it goes to full mast to indicate that Denmark is a free country today.
April 16 Birthday of Queen Margrethe II Dronningens fødselsdag The Queen is usually celebrated in some places, and she will appear on her balcony at her Castle.
April 29 Princess Benedikte's birthday Prinsesse Benedikte fødselsdag Outside of the royal house there is no particular tradition for celebrating on this day.
May 1 International Workers' Day Arbejdernes kampdag / 1. maj Left-wing political day. Many people try to get a day off this day, and some even have it in their employment contract. A few people attend political meetings, though many - especially young people - meet at the sites of the political meetings to drink beer and other alcoholic beverages. Copenhagen's Fælledparken is well known for its annual May 1 gathering. This is a full holiday for blue collar workers, but not for white collar workers.
May 5 Liberation day Danmarks befrielse Historic date. This was the day that the German forces surrendered in Denmark under World War II. However, the island of Bornholm was not liberated on this date - instead, occupation continued, and the island was later occupied by USSR forces, too, before being rejoined with the rest of Denmark.
May 26 Birthday of Crown Prince Frederik Kronprins Frederiks fødselsdag This is not celebrated a lot, yet, but one day he will become the King of Denmark.
June 5 Constitution Day (Denmark) Grundlovsdag Political day. The signing of the Danish constitution in 1849. Some people attend political meetings, though many - especially the elderly - meet at the sites of the political meetings to drink beer and other alcoholic beverages. With a few exceptions, all shops stay closed on Grundlovsdag by law.[1]
June 7 Birthday of Prince Joachim Prins Joachims fødselsdag This is not celebrated a lot.
June 11 Birthday of Prince Henrik Prins Henriks fødselsdag This is not celebrated a lot.
June 15 Day of Valdemar and Reunion day Valdemarsdag og Genforeningsdag Celebration of Valdemar II of Denmark's victory in a battle in Estonia in 1219, at which Denmark got its national flag Dannebrog. It is also the date on which Danes celebrate that Sønderjylland in 1920 was reunited with the rest of Denmark after a referendum.
June 23 Saint John's Eve Sankt Hans aften Pre-Christianity celebration day, celebrating summer solstice on June 24. Sankt Hans (Johannes) is the Danish name of St. John the Baptist. The day is celebrated with a bonfire on the evening before. See the Denmark section under Midsummer
October 31 Halloween Allehelgensaften According to superstition, the 31 October is the night when witches, ghosts and dark forces are set loose to disgrace the saints celebrated on the following Allehelgensdag.
November 10 The eve before Saint Martin's day Mortensaften November 11 is a catholic day. Sankt Morten is the Danish name of Saint Martin of Tours. Martin was forced to become a bishop by his parishioners and tried to hide in a barn. However, the noise of the geese gave him away. It was a tradition to eat goose for the evening meal to honour this event, although over time duck has become the preferred dish on this occasion.
December 13 Saint Lucy's Day Sankta Lucia Catholic day that was located on winter solstice before the European calendar reform.
December 24 Christmas Eve Juleaften The celebration of Christmas in Denmark starts in the evening, traditionally with a Christmas tree, exchanging presents and having dinner with the family. With a few exceptions, all shops stay closed by law on Juleaftensdag, the day of Juleaften.[1]
December 31 New Year's Eve Nytårsaften Mostly celebrated with friends and family. The Queen traditionally holds a televised speech at 6:00 PM. Midnight is celebrated with champagne, kransekage (lit. translated, ringcake) — an almond cake consisting of increasingly smaller and smaller rings stacked one on top of each other, creating a cone form — and private displays of fireworks. With a few exceptions, all shops stay closed by law from 3 PM on Nytårsaftensdag, the day of Nytårsaften.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Law regarding mandatory shop closing (Lukkelov)

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