Holidays in Denmark

A lot of festivals in Denmark seem to revolve around dressing up in Viking garb and pretending to stab others dressed in a similar fashion. Unless it is a music festival (and there are quite a few of these throughout the year, a large portion of them of the jazz variety), you have a pretty good chance of seeing at least one drunken Viking waving a fake sword around in public.

The festivals in Denmark get started until spring, though – in March, the world’s oldest amusement park, Bakken, opens amongst a ridiculous amount of hype, making it one of the most popular Copenhagen events of the year. In April the holidays in Denmark start to come around, beginning with the Queen’s Birthday, where the royal family makes an appearance on the balcony of Amalienborg, surrounded by much fanfare and impeccably dressed royal guards.

The constant stream of Copenhagen events continue, as the Copenhagen Carnival rolls through the city's squares - not one of the biggest Denmark festivals, but definitely worth taking a look at if you happen to be in the capital in May.

Then the musical festivals in Denmark begin in earnest. Jazz is all the rage in June, when the Aalborg Jazz festival comes to town, featuring four days of free concerts all across the city. The Riverboat Jazz festival also takes place during the month, another four days of indoor and outdoor concerts - this time in Silkeborg.

The Viking festival celebrates all things Viking, focusing on the often overlooked examples of Viking theater. Held in Frederikssund, people from all over Europe descend on the town to take in revelers dressed in head-to-toe Vikingwear.

And just like that, Denmark festivals head back in a musical direction, as the Roskilde Festival gathers large collections of artists in the city, one of the largest rock concerts in all of Europe. The Skagen festival highlights Danish folk music, while jazz lovers get yet another set of concerts during the Copenhagen Jazz festival, before heading to Aarhus in July for the summer’s final jazz outing.

In the meantime, the only non-American Fourth of July celebration is held in Aalborg. Though not technically one of the recognized holidays in Denmark, this Independence Day celebration blows many of American festivities out of the water. But if you prefer to surround yourself with Viking history instead, head to the Sonderhodog, another of the Denmark festivals to celebrate their cultural heritage.

All of these pale in comparison to the Arhus festival. Lasting almost two weeks and chock full of theater and concerts and sporting events, the entire city shuts down for this one. Of all the festivals in Denmark, this is the one not to be missed.

One of the biggest Copenhagen events comes along with Christmas – the Christmas Market in Tivoli Gardens takes a landmark already bursting with an abundance of visual stimuli and redirects it all into massive holiday cheer. Nothing in Tivoli is spared from an outbreak of the most extensive decorative onslaught of the year in Copenhagen, and it is a wonder to behold for both child and adult.

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