Denmark Ethnography and Folklore

Denmark Ethnography and Folklore

According to itypejob, Denmark has a very uniform cultural picture. The forest that once covered the region has now almost completely disappeared. The Danish islands offer a pleasant landscape, with farms scattered in the rolling terrain amidst the farms. The same landscape is found in eastern and central Jütland, where the villages are however more numerous; only the western half of the peninsula has taken on the appearance of an overgrown steppe which, however, is now turning into arable land. Over the past centuries, numerous villages have been destroyed by the progressive formation of dunes on the stormy west coast.

The population has feelings of progress, combined with a stable, calm and cheerful temperament. The economic base of the town has been, since the last decades of the nineteenth century, the breeding of cattle and the trade of milk, practiced with the most modern means; the rural population is generally more educated than factory workers. However, there is no lack of cultural elements that preserve very ancient traditions: they are observed, for example, in the shapes of the villages. In Seeland and in the center of East Jütland the shape is that of the “Solskifte”, in which the square buildings are placed around a round or square square, the “Forte” (forta), intended for meetings and also for grazing cattle. In Funen, on the other hand, the village dominates, aligned and extended in length as in Schleswig. Added to this are the irregular shapes of the more primitive villages. Alongside these, there are also the large farms of the peasants and the goods of the nobles throughout the region. In earlier times the houses in rural centers were built in compartments and the space between the beams was filled with wicker racks coated with clay. In Jütland and Funen, one still encounters the construction of sheet piles or colonnades to support the roof in granaries and older houses. This was once covered with grass and peat, or, according to the custom that has still been maintained, with straw. The isolated farms are mostly four-winged around a courtyard. In the past the family lived in a single room on the farm, heated with a fireplace or with stoves. Today the needs of houses have increased a lot, and even the old furniture is gradually replaced by the medernians. Most of the work was once in the hands of the housewife; it had to make beer, which was drunk from old wooden jugs or bowls, to prepare the butter that until recently was made by stirring the milk in terracotta containers), to spin and weave. Even the dyeing of wool and linen was done in the house. Even in the past generation it was cooked in pots handmade by women, blackened with soot and cooked on a free fire. The old tools for the preparation of flax, scapecchiatoi, leaves in the shape of a sword, plants for the draining of flax, spinning wheels, etc. they are now found in museum collections. The short and wide battens used to wash the linen and the long boards around which it was ironed, they were the gifts of love from young men to girls, and were therefore adorned with rich carvings. The old custom that until a couple of generations ago was seen as far away as the capital is also gone. It was very similar to the fashion of the late 1700s, presenting only the horn-shaped headdress worn by girlfriends or young wives.

The democratic character of the ancient organization of the villages has passed, without major changes, in the current system. However, the farmer often sees himself as a big owner and mostly gets education in some high school. Festivals, costumes, and customs have lost their ancient meaning. The banquets and weddings of the peasants, with all their ceremonial, are things of the past. The youth then celebrated Christmas, after the religious feast of the eve, with dances, games and entertainment in society for whole days, even making masked processions on the day of the Magi. In spring, in addition to the May festival on Walpurgis night there was the dance around the Pentecost tree, and in the summer the harvest festival.

Once, they took place in places where the remains of prehistoric circles of stones remain, reduced by time to grassy mounds that were used as seats by spectators, those same circles that popular superstition designated as places for elves’ dance and meeting places for witches.

Denmark Ethnography

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