Candles on Liberation Day
Liberation Day (Danish Befrielsesdagen) is an important historic day for Denmark who like Holland were liberated by allied troops on May 5. 1945. But the liberation of Denmark already began in the evening the day before.
On May 4. there is still an old tradition of putting lit candles in the windows in Denmark. It is not at all the darkest time of the year, yet it has to do with bringing light into the darkness.
In 1945 on the evening of May 4. allied troops came to liberate Denmark from suppression by Germany at the end of World War II. It was the end of a dark time with suppression, fear and war which also meant curfew at night and blackout curtains.
Dark times turned bright
Eventhough the liberation of Denmark was not official until the morning on May 5. (official Liberation Day), there was great happiness and joy as soon as the rumour spread. There was a relieved celebration of freedom, life and light. Danes were dancing and singing while tearing down the blackout curtains. Others joined in teams to find and punish the persons who had been particularly friendly towards the German troops and gained on the situation. It was 24 hours of darkness and light.
In the years to come Danes would put lit candles in their windows to mark the day of liberation. Today it is no longer a great tradition but the important day still reamins in the memory of many people.
4. Maj Kollegiet
I treasure these traditions but before lighting my candles I went for a walk to find windows with lit candles. I found that the Dorm of May 4. (Danish: 4. Maj Kollegiet) was cozy and lovely lit by candles in almost every window. The young students living at the dorm have a long tradition of celebrating the day and many of them have ancestors who fought to liberate Denmark during the war.
It was a lovely and warm sight.
After that experience I went back home to light my own candles in the memory of the people who died in the battle for our liberation.