It was a great honour to be asked to contribute the Editorial for the DUCC Newsletter, particularly the edition before Christmas. I have been visiting Denmark and the Scandinavian countries since I was about 5 years old, and my company EBS is still involved with Danish companies entering the UK market.
We went by car through France, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark to visit family friends in Sweden. In those far off days it needed three ferry crossings just to get from Jylland to Helsingborg, so these journeys were not easy. This journey, together with those to other European countries, continued for about 15 years, and I consider myself very fortunate to have had parents who had the confidence to travel and who seemed to know people in many places.
This allowed me to enjoy a wide range of experiences not often available at that time. I saw the different cultures, cuisines, architecture and Christmas traditions across Europe.
Some Christmas celebration periods may begin earlier than others, and in many parts of Europe 6th December is celebrated as St Nicholas Day, when good children are rewarded with festive gifts. In Spain Epiphany on December 8th signals the start, and in Denmark and Sweden Santa Lucia on December 13th can signify the start.
One concept which seems to have spread is Christkindl market, or German Christmas market- street markets with various stalls celebrating Christmas time. In the UK, the longest established and the biggest is Birmingham Christmas Market, where you can try authentic Weisswurst and Glühwein.
Most countries certainly have the main meal and present giving on Christmas Eve. This can vary from Carp in Poland, or lamb in Iceland, through the Christmas buffet or Julbord in Sweden to a rather large meal traditionally involving turkey in the UK. If you want to experience what the Danes have for Christmas, DUCC Christmas lunch is a perfect occasion to do so.
This year again EBS is supporting the DUCC Christmas Lunch, and I hope to have the pleasure of seeing many of you there. We also sponsor the annual Santa Lucia service at Birmingham Cathedral, which this year is on Monday 11th December. This most spectacular and moving event is free of charge and I look forward to seeing you there also.
Photos by: Jonathan Hipkiss
Christmas is a stimulus time to reflect on and to remind ourselves that, with all the turmoil in our world, it is above all the future of our children which we hold in our hands.
The diversity of culture and traditions we have across Europe should be celebrated and enjoyed, because this makes Europe such an interesting and vibrant place to live.
A happy Christmas to you and your families.
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