I've been waiting and waiting to use this image (unless I've used it already, but I'm not going to go back through all my posts, no sir-ee-bob) and this is that post.
From Pictures for sad children. I'm pretty sure John Campbell isn't Danish, or married to a Dane, or have had any reason to sit through a Danish party, and yet he really nails the experience.
This post may be a bit touchy, so I'm putting a break in it - continue reading after the jump.
I've just returned from an in-law silver anniversary. Normally you'd expect this to have happened years ago, when my husband was much younger, but this is Denmark. Traditional values in Denmark means eating your weight in rye bread every week and using the flag to decorate everything. Marriage comes later, or not at all. Divorce is a national past-time. If they can get away with it, Danes would rather not get married.
(I'm not knocking it, I'm a divorced person myself. Here. Have some statistics. And a wiki article about Danish food. Because no post is complete without a reference to Wikipedia. Or this one with pictures of food. I had some statistics about food, but I had link issues - but Danes eat an average of 15 kg of rye flour every year. Now no whinging about my reportage - I'm a blogger, not a news agency.)
Anyway, it seems that if you get married once in Denmark, you tend to do it again. And in some cases, again and again.
Then you combine your multiple families into one big happy Brady Bunch Family.
And after twenty five years of joy and bliss, you invite everyone to your silver wedding anniversary to partake in what I like to refer to as "Festen." By the way, the link is a HUGE SPOILER, so don't read it unless you aren't really interested in watching amazingly depressing Danish movies about, as one poster on IMDb put it "the power of social conventions, how we depend on them to deal with unpleasantness, and just how stubborn and difficult they can be to circumvent, even when your life depends on it."
Okay, the party wasn't exactly "Festen," no major surprises were unveiled and as for the speeches...
My personal favorite went like this (translated in its entirety): "If you don't have anything nice to say... Cheers!"
Yes, that was a speech from my FIL's brother. I'd never met him before that night, but my gosh I like him! That was the funniest speech ever.
I hear there was another really funny speech, but it was delivered at a fast clip and I couldn't understand much of it.
The Brady kids talked amongst themselves and agreed that no speeches were going to be made by them. We did the Eros-port on Tuesday, so at least we couldn't be faulted for not doing anything, but since the sentiment was in line with my uncle-in-law, they decided to say nothing.
Are you detecting an undercurrent of suppressed emotion? Usually I'm the most frustrated person at one of these parties, but not this time.
It also helped that I was able to natter on in Danish at people and not a single person tried to give me a Danish lesson or got impatient with my baby Danish. And a lot of people wanted to talk to me. Often I get marginalized because I don't speak Danish or just sort of left out of conversations, but this time people were hunting me down and wanting to chat.
All in all, not the worst party I've attended.
*** I just reread that last sentence and I about died laughing. I went to a party where a huge number of guests were stressed, the family of the celebrants were so unhappy that they either couldn't speak, or gave speeches that will guarantee that they'll be left off of guest lists for some time (lucky bastards), and I feel like it was a fairly good time! ***
There were a few other events of that week that were all kinds of odd. The in-laws (of silver anniversary fame) are moving to a smaller house and need to get rid of furniture. If we wanted any, we had to buy it off of them at a price set by a person who probably moonlights on Antique Roadshow - 500 Dkk for a little table!!?? We tried to haggle, but they wouldn't let anything go for less than the minimum price the friend-auctioneer-professional-yard-sale-queen suggested. We ended up only buying the pieces that we knew we wouldn't be able to find for cheaper that we really liked. I am now the owner of a rather large sea chest that dates from at least 1733 (the date you can just make out in the faded paint) and an impressive oak desk as well as some other fun furniture.
Yes, selling your extra furniture to your children at market value is a bit odd if you are comfortably off, moving to a smaller home and your children have space and the ability to take it off your hands.
But I survived. And more importantly, my husband survived.
(By the way, it's a good thing that I now own a sea chest, the rain is incredible and I may need to construct an ark.)