Denmark Has a National Songbook. Should It Mention Ramadan?

merlin_159197349_8533e552-d4a7-4227-b232-da99cabdd1f8-jumboSource: The New York Times


COPENHAGEN — Because of the summer vacation, the crowd that gathered early Wednesday morning in the lobby of Copenhagen’s central library was smaller than usual. But what it lacked in numbers, it made up for in gusto.

Accompanied by piano, and holding well-worn blue songbooks, 90 or so people, ranging in age from 11 to well over 70, belted out four songs selected for the day. And then, in roughly the same time it took customers in the coffee shop next door to finish their lattes, it was over, and Christina Walldeskog, 31, was back on her way to work.

“Morgensang always puts me in a much better mood,” she said. “Who doesn’t get happy from singing songs together?”

Maybe not everyone. In Denmark, morgensang — communal morning singing — is a cherished cultural tradition, a form of bonding that many children acquire at school, but that is also happily practiced at universities, in large corporations, even at political party conferences. Yet recently, controversy over which songs should be sung has threatened to undermine the bonhomie.

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