Experiencing the Danish Hospitable Spirit Is Like A Coming Home

a writing by Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

June 15, the day I had my wedding to a Danish guy in a fishing island in the Philippines. It was 25 years ago. But the memories of that great day could still linger in my mind.

In the morning of this same day,June 15 in the year 2011, I heard a trumpet playing a beautiful sound at seven o‘clock in the morning. Voices of men and women sang three songs to greet the silver wedded couple. It was a great surprise. More than 80 people made their serenade to me and my husband. The front door of the house was surprisingly well decorated by our neighbours by an ark of plants and flowers, reaching from the top part of the door down to the ground with a creative poster bearing the names of the wedded couple and the full date of the time we had our wedding 25 years ago. And the Danish flags in front of the house and in the garden were waving in jubilation.

My children managed to run the kitchen that should give the guests breakfast: bread, cheese and fillings, cakes and fruits. I was wondering if my children could manage to make coffee or tea to this group of people but surprisingly, I learned that neighbours and friends came with their thermoses filled with coffee and tea enough to serve all those who were present. The tables and chairs inside the house and outside in the garden, which my children prepared, were not enough. However, it was so quick for some neighbours to get their chairs and tables from their gardens for our use. And there were more song sheets distributed to be sung by all; and there were some speeches being kindly delivered and friendly talks continued to revolve around the tables as these unexpected guests shared the simple breakfast. And there was a table of gifts, which amazingly was flooded by flowers, cards, plants on big pots to be planted in the garden, wrapped packages, envelopes with gift purchasing cards and wine. And everyone who entered the house uttered the word, “Tillykke”, a Danish word for congratulations while planting a kiss or giving a hug to me and my husband. How do we deserve this attention, this great outpouring of love and concern?

It was great and something unforgettable to experience the Danish hospitable spirit, the neighbourhood willing to support and share their joy and our dear friends who secretly helped my children to plan the great surprise for their parents. I find this country my home, our neighbours and friends in the church and the local community as my own people. For me, this day is like my second wedding to my Danish husband, just like the marriage in the Philippines which took place 25 years ago. But something different is being affirmed this day. It is something very valuable which I need to keep in my heart and be thankful to the Lord for. It is that I have found another country I can also claim as my own country and its people as my very own people.

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June 15, 2011


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