Why Denmark Has a Hidden Holiday for a Beer Brand

J-dag decorations | © Karl Baron/Flickr
J-dag decorations | © Karl Baron/Flickr
Photo of Aliki Seferou
30 October 2017

Danes have a holiday that cannot be found on calendars and its customs include gallons of the nation’s favorite drink and partying until the wee hours. It’s called J-Dag and the moment the clock strikes 8:59 pm on November 3, 2017, Denmark’s streets and bars will get packed by locals celebrating the J-Dag, the day Tuborg releases its Christmas beer.
For more than 30 years, J-Dag has been celebrated throughout the country and signals the beginning of the Christmas period. Foreigners often wonder how did the day of a beer launch became a tradition and one of the most known and favorites events in Denmark—other than the fact of course that Danes love beer.

<a href = "https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalleboo/4064437193/in/photolist-8TDvqj-3MDsVt-hu716Q-7ceds1-8Rckty-8R9cZX-8R9dbe-8R9d5B-8R9d96-8R9cQF-5xyMuG-8Rckpy-NQC3KC-7cebej-7caizk-rufLD-7dkryU-7dkrBs-MVuHht"> julebryg | © Karl Baron/Flickr

The first time J-Dag was celebrated was in 1990, nine years after Tuborg launched its special Christmas beer known as Julebryg for the first time with a commercial campaign that became an instant success. Over the years, J-Dag became a Danish tradition with locals celebrating on that day the beginning of the Christmas season, singing Christmas songs, and partying until the early morning hours while savouring their favorite drink.

In the beginning, the exact day of celebration was on the second Wednesday of November. That changed many times over the years and since 2010, it has been decided that J-Dag will be celebrated on the first Friday of November. To a great extent, this had to do with the fact that a great number of young people missed school after partying hard the night before.

Nowadays on the first Friday of November, Tuborg provides country’s bars and kiosks with locals’ beloved Julebryg and at 8:59 pm sharp, decorated trucks fill the streets while boys and girls in elves or Santa Claus costumes hand out free Christmas beer.

From that day and for the next few weeks, every pub and bar in Denmark serves Tuborg’s Christmas beer while many of them are decorated with string pennant flags writing ‘Glædelig Jul og Godt Tub’år’ (‘Merry Christmas and a Happy Tuborg Year’).

J-dag decorations | © Karl Baron/Flickr

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