Mortensaften:The Danish version of the American Thanksgiving

Posted: November 16, 2010 in Categorized
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On November 12th, I celebrated the Danish version of Thanksgiving called, Mortensaften.


“Goose or duck is on the menu on November 10, when the Danes celebrate Saint Martin. Martin – or as it has become in Danish: Morten – was inaugurated bishop in Tours, France, on November 11 in 371. It is said that the pious Martin out of obsequiousness hid among the geese because he did not want to become a bishop. The geese however let him down by quacking, and it is said that in return Martin decided to punish the geese by slaughtering and eating them every November 10. Nowadays, goose is often replaced by duck on the menu Mortensaften (Morten’s Eve), probably because the size of a duck is more appropriate for the appetite of an average Danish familiy.”

So for Mortensaften we had duck served with brown sauce, white potatoes, candied white potatoes, and red cabbage all with copious amounts of red wine. Dessert was Abemad or “Monkey’s Food” which consisted of chopped apples, pear, banana, and pineapple topped with råcreme, which is vanilla cream.

This is very traditional food and the same thing is usually served at every Mortensaften. It is a time of family gathering and eating good food. To me it was very reminiscent of Thanksgiving, just with a different bird as the main dish.

After dinner and dessert, we all sat around and had tea and other types of chocolate desserts. I was very honored that the family decided to invite me to be a part of their Mortensaftens.   I’ve experienced so many family gatherings and Danish birthday parties and each of them just have this strong traditional feeling.  They all usually have a three course meal with very delectable appetizers, main entrees and desserts.  It has just been a blessing for my Danish roommates to include me in their family gatherings and they each help me gain a deeper appreciation of Danish culture.

Dining room area before the food finished cooking.

  1. Sebastian says:

    Today is Mortens Aften! 🙂

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