Liberation Day in Denmark
Liberation Day in Denmark, also known as Befrielsesdagen, is a national commemoration day observed on May 5th each year. This day marks the end of the German occupation of Denmark during World War II and the return of freedom to the Danish people.
Liberation Day has been observed in Denmark since 1945, following the end of World War II. The German occupation of Denmark began on April 9, 1940, and lasted for five long years. On May 4, 1945, the German forces in Denmark officially surrendered, and the news of the capitulation was broadcasted on the Danish radio the same evening. The next day, May 5, 1945, is celebrated as the day Denmark was liberated from the German occupation, and it has been observed as Liberation Day ever since.
During the occupation, the Danish resistance movement played a significant role in fighting against the German forces and assisting the Jewish population in escaping to Sweden. One notable figure from this period is King Christian X, who is said to have worn a yellow star in solidarity with the Jewish population, although this story is likely a myth.
National customs for Liberation Day in Denmark
On May 5th, Danish people observe Liberation Day by celebrating the return of freedom and honoring those who fought for it. The Danish flag, known as the Dannebrog, is flown at half-mast until noon, symbolizing the mourning of those who lost their lives during the occupation. After noon, the flag is raised to full-mast, representing the return of freedom and the victory over oppression.
There are various events and ceremonies held across the country, including speeches, concerts, and exhibitions. These events pay tribute to the Danish resistance movement, the victims of the occupation, and the brave actions of ordinary citizens who helped their fellow countrymen during this difficult time.
Local customs for Liberation Day in Denmark
In addition to the national customs, there are also local customs and events that take place across Denmark. Some cities and towns hold their own ceremonies and gatherings to commemorate the day. For example, in the city of Odense, the day is marked by a torchlight procession that culminates in a large bonfire, symbolizing the burning of the darkness of occupation and the return of light and freedom.
Local museums, schools, and organizations may also hold special events or exhibitions related to the history of the occupation, the resistance movement, and the liberation.
Liberation Day in Denmark is a significant day in the nation's history, marking the end of the dark period of German occupation during World War II and the return of freedom to the Danish people. It serves as an opportunity for citizens to remember and honor those who fought for their country's freedom and the sacrifices made by ordinary people during this challenging time. The day is observed with both national and local customs, reflecting the importance of this event in Denmark's history and the enduring spirit of the Danish people.