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Life is full of anledninger (opportunities, occasions) to fejre (celebrate) – and also sometimes to sørge [serw-eh] (mourn). Here’s a small guide to help you choose some kind words for your Danish friends’ great life events.
Let’s start with the sad part: When somebody has lost a loved one, a decent way of showing your respect would be: Jeg/Vi kondolerer. (My/Our condolences.)
In more joyful situations, some variation of tillykke med (congratulations with, literally ”to-luck with”) will take you far. Let’s say a new baby is born. If the context is clear, you could perhaps go with a short: Tillykke! (Congratulations!) But I guess it’s a good idea to add a little more information, especially on a lykønskningskort (congratulations card):
Fødselsdage (birthdays) are a really important event in Danes’ lives. In the Danish-speaking universe, the universal thing to say is: Tillykke med fødselsdagen! (Happy birthday!)
This neat formula is useful in dozens of situations:
In other settings, use some combination of god (good) and held og lykke med (good luck with):
And, the one you all waited for:
God bryllupsdag! (Happy anniversary!)