There are many things in Denmark that are unique, one of them is the golden wedding celebration (guldbryllup) and its æresport (arc of triumph). The 23rd of July my Danish parents celebrated their 50th anniversary and my two sisters together with the neighbours arranged the details for the big day to come. We were in charge of making the sign that was placed on the decorated arch at the front door.
We left Kolding at six in the morning to be able to catch the early train and arrived at eleven the previous day, with the finished sign in our bags. There was an add about my parents anniversary in the local newspaper, so guests were expected to show up for breakfast next morning. Everybody was busy at home putting up tents, polishing cutlery, baking cakes, arranging tables, etc.
At 2 o’clock, we left the busy house to join at least 30 neighbours that were building a huge arch for the main door and a smaller one for the back door. They all were amazingly talented for the job fixing the basic structure, trimming branches and flowers, binding them to the arch and putting on lights. It was a very nice working evening with lots of chatter, beers, coffee & cake.
A little past nine the neighbour’s tractor opened a parade that brought the arches and flags. It took almost until mid-night to fix everything. My parents were not allowed to leave the house, as this is a surprise for the couple.
Next morning, at 8.30 three trumpets woke up the wedding couple followed by a morning song that more than 50 neighbours, friends and family sang. Afterwards we all shared breakfast with home-made bread and pastry.
The party took place in the afternoon, at a local restaurant in a restored old sawmill run by Jane, their neighbours’ daughter for whom I helped serving in her confirmation 25 years ago. We had a wonderful dinner enhanced by songs and speeches. A very traditional way of celebrating in Denmark is writing personalised songs and handing in copies of the lyrics to all the attendees. I had a little say in my sister Stine’s speech, and my two daughters accompanied with flute and harp a personalised version of the old Danish song “Der stode tre skalke” written by my sister Rikke.
It was a privilege to take part in this celebration, to be a daughter of “another kind” as Far said. We had a great time, met many friends from the past as well as new members of the family. My parents enjoyed the party, although the celebration is still not finished for them, as the tradition says that the neighbours will gather again to put down the door arches, and food and drinks will be served once more 🙂