Danish traditions For Members

Confirmation: Why does Denmark have annual spring tradition and what does it mean?

The Local Denmark
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Confirmation: Why does Denmark have annual spring tradition and what does it mean?
Priest Inger Merete Hansen with a group ready for confirmation in Birkerød. Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Ritzau Scanpix

It's confirmation season in Denmark which means you'll see a lot of teenagers dressed in suits and white dresses. Here's a guide to what it's all about.


If there is one thing everyone should know about Danes, it's that they love their traditions. Confirmation (konfirmation) within the Church of Denmark is one these traditions.

What is a confirmation or 'nonfirmation'?

Confirmation has been around in Denmark since 1736. It was an obligatory religious act, and if you were not confirmed at church you were not allowed to study or work. Fortunately that's not the case anymore.


The Lutheran church states that confirmation is about God saying yes to the child, where God confirms his promise to be with the baptised always. It is also a coming of age ritual, which is why it is so popular in Denmark. Although you need to be baptised before being confirmed, many people who get confirmed are not religious. 

Others have embraced the idea of a 'nonfirmation', which opts out of the church service but includes all of the coming of age celebrations and gifts (more on that later).

Who is it for?

It is for teens between the ages of 14 and 17, although most take part in the tradition while they are in seventh grade, meaning they are typically around 15 years old. 

Confirmation Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

According Statistics Danmark, 45 671 of young people were confirmed in 2022. This is estimated to be roughly 66.5 percent of teens at confirmation age. This is a drop from an estimated 71 percent in 2015 when 48,334 young people were confirmed.

When does it take place?

Confirmation day typically falls on a Sunday sometime in April, May or June, dependent on the local church schedule. However, Saturday confirmations are becoming increasingly popular.

In order to get confirmed in the church, the teenagers need to attend 48 hours of confirmation classes during the school year. Classes usually start in the autumn of the year before and last until the April of the year of confirmation. In these classes, they talk about faith and Christianity in a way that corresponds to their age. They do not have to be certain about their faith in order to get confirmed but the classes are there to let them explore it and ask questions, appropriate for their older age.
Confirmation Parish priest Rebecca Maria Aagaard-Poulsen presides over a confirmation in Tved Church in Svendborg, 2021. Photo: Tim Kildeborg Jensen/Ritzau

What is the church ceremony all about?

It is normal to confirm from 10 to 30 teens in one church, or even more, depending on the church's size. Some churches host two to three ceremonies in one day and with guests of every family attending the ceremony, the crowds can be enormous. Be prepared to stand up during the ceremony but do not skip it and just go to the party afterwards.

The actual confirmation takes place at the altar, where the person getting confirmed kneels. The priest will say their name and in some cases the family will then stand up. The priest will then ask the young person to confirm their faith with a yes, and then they are blessed but there is the option to just be blessed and not confirm faith. In both cases, the priest ends by reading a Bible verse. The rest of the service proceeds as a normal service with prayer and hymns. In many churches, the confirmation ends with the young people and priest going out in procession.


What about the after party?

For most people, this is the biggest event of the day. Families and friends are invited to a big party, that often has a theme and a three course menu with a lot of speeches and homemade songs.


Here is the order of the party for most families, and some to dos and don'ts:
Arrive on time. One cannot emphasis enough how important it is for Danes to be punctual. Do not forget to bring a gift for the young person (see below) and it wouldn't hurt to bring a bottle of wine for the host family.
Upon arrival, there will usually be welcome drinks and a snack table that guests will gather around and chat. You can mingle and talk about how beautiful the ceremony was, comment on the decorations and ask how the person is related to the teenager confirmed.
Then everyone will take a place at the tables. As is the case at Danish weddings, there is usually assigned seating with a name card at each plate. Be careful to not take the grandmother's chair!


The party will start with a welcome song that every one will sing, then the appetiser is served. After that, the parents will give a speech and as each course is served, there will be more speeches and songs that the guests have written themselves.
If you have been asked to give a speech, remember to start writing it in good time and practice it. Before starting your speech, let the party know who you are and how you are related to the star of the party.
At the end of the dinner, the young guest of honour will give a speech or sing a song; thanking his/her parents and the guests.
Tip: Remember to raise your glass and skål with others every time they raise their glasses.

A confirmation at Birkerød church. Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Ritzau Scanpix

What to give as a Confirmation present?

There will usually be a wish list included in the invitation. It is quite common – and considered acceptable – for the young people to ask for expensive gifts such as iPhones, computers, gold jewellery, gift certificates, and money as their confirmation gift.

However, if there is not a wish list, the safest option is to give money. This is completely acceptable and even encouraged, as opposed to giving money at birthdays or Christmas. 

What is Blue Monday (Blå Mandag)?

The party may be over for the guests, but for all the teens who were confirmed on Sunday, the next day is about celebrating with each other, with many schools giving a day off. Blue Monday is about having fun and spending some confirmation gift money.

The day consists of shopping, amusement parks and restaurants. And the only blue is the colour of their jeans and hopefully the skies over Denmark.

Blue Monday is not only a traditional day for teens but also a prime opportunity for thieves. Everyone knows that these young people are coming into the city with a lot of cash and new gadgets in their pockets and there are often reports of teens having their money, new smartphones and even their jewellery stolen on a Blue Monday.

How much does it cost?

According to Nordea Bank, the cost of holding a confirmation celebration varies between 26,000 kroner to 37,000 kroner and the average family will invite 36 guests.

The bank's research from 2022 found the average bill for a confirmation party with 36 guests came to 20,760 kroner. After shopping for clothes and a gift from the parents, the bill came to 33,740 kroner. The average cost of the confirmation gift from parents was 7,500 kroner.

The research also showed that clothes for the parents cost an average of 2,900 kroner. Those who live in Southern Denmark and Northern Jutland spent the most money on gifts for their confirmed children and those in Zealand spent the most on food at the confirmation celebration.

In Danish culture, confirmation is seen as a major milestone in a person's life so many families do not compromise on cost. The amount some parents spend on a confirmation has been reported on in the press with some lavish celebrations including limousines, even a helicopter. These are of course, the exceptions but confirmation season is a big deal, so expect to see a lot of celebrating over the coming months.


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