For members


Danish word of the day: Marcipangris

For when you hog the Christmas party prizes.

What is marcipangris? 

marsipangris, or marzipan pig, is just that: a pig figurine made out of marzipan, often covered in chocolate.

This delicious confectionary animal pops up in various sizes in many supermarkets, confectionery, and speciality shops in Denmark during the festive season, and is also commonly referred to as a julegris (“Christmas pig”).

The marcipangris is popularly used as a prize given to the winner of Christmas games at holiday gatherings. The classic Christmas game with which it is associated is the risalamande challenge. 

Risalamande is a hugely popular cold rice sweet mixed with whipped cream, vanilla and chopped almonds and served with cherry sauce.

By tradition, one whole almond is left in the mix, which is then spooned into everyone’s bowls when it’s time to have dessert after Christmas dinner.

Whoever finds the whole almond wins a present (the mandelgave or “almond gift”), which is customarily a julegris. The game is often fixed so that a child (or children) wins the prize.

Why do I need to know marcipangris?

According to, the “almond gift” custom originated in France, but risalamande – despite its French-sounding name – is very much Danish.

That is because increasingly creative ways to make meals using rice emerged in Denmark after rice became a more inexpensive ingredient in the 1800s.

Meanwhile, it was tradition to slaughter a pig to give fresh (rather than salted) meat for the Christmas meal, despite the popularity of duck as a Danish Christmas dinner staple in later years.

As such, there is some sense in the link between a pig and a sweet-tasting Christmas treat.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Danish word of the day: Grænsesøgende

For the daredevils amongst us.

Danish word of the day: Grænsesøgende

What is grænsesøgende? 

A grænse is a border, and søgende is the present participle form of the verb at søge, in other words, “a person who is searching”.

This makes the literal translation of grænsesøgende “person who searches for a border”.

More accurately, it is used to describe a person or a person’s actions that come close to the limits of what is either considered safe, acceptable or possible.

If you do something that is grænsesøgende, then, you are “testing the limits” or “trying your luck”.

Why do I need to know grænsesøgende?

A quick note on grammar: Danish does not use present participles in the same way as English. If you want to say “I am searching” in Danish, you would use the regular present tense jeg søger (“I search”).

The structure Jeg er søgende does not really make sense, because søgende is used more like an adjective. Jeg er den søgende means something like “I am the one who is searching”.

Other Danish adjectives have meanings close to grænsesøgende. For example, dumdristig comes from dum (“stupid”) and dristig (“brave”) and can be translated to “foolhardy”. Udfordrende means “challenging” or “willing to challenge”.

The difference between these and grænsesøgende is that there’s almost an experimental subtext to the latter word. It is used for someone who is not just being daring but who is testing the limits of what they can do, without necessarily knowing what is beyond or what the consequences might be.

This could be anyone from a child refusing to put their shoes on before going out, to a scientist putting a new theory into practice for the first time.

A possible antonym to grænsesøgende could be regelrytter.


Hun var frygtløs og grænsesøgende, og havde altid drømt om at bestige Everest om vinteren.

She was fearless and wanted to break barriers, and had always dreamed of climbing Everest in the winter.