Denmark celebrates ′Christmas in July′ with Santas from around the world | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 23.07.2018
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Denmark celebrates 'Christmas in July' with Santas from around the world

Sleigh bells, reindeer and Christmas trees — but in July? The annual World Santa Claus Congress in Denmark celebrates exactly that amid sweltering temperatures.

What better way to survive the heatwave sweeping Europe than donning multilayered red velvet frocks and wearing fake white beards made from the most exquisite polyester and acrylic material?

One might be called insane for even considering it — but in Denmark, people from around the globe are doing just that at the annual World Santa Claus Congress (WSSC).

The three-day event running July 23 to 26 in the Danish capital Copenhagen says it's bringing together 125 Santas from 15 countries "to discuss professional issues." Networking among reindeer is optional.

World Santa Claus Congress in Denmark (Reuters/A. Kelly)

Santas and their little helpers pay a visit to Copenhagen's famous Little Mermaid statue

O Come, All Ye Faithful – to Copenhagen

The "Christmas in July" style festival combines various Yuletide activities including a Santa obstacle course, a footbath in the sea at nearby Bellevue Beach, and various shows and jamborees at the Dyrehavsbakken amusement park (known locally as Bakken). There is even a "great pixie-orchestra" featuring 20 Christmas elves.

As a highlight, the international delegation of Santas at the WSSC hits the streets of Copenhagen in full costume for a parade in front of thousands of spectators — despite the ho-ho-hot temperatures forecast for the week (reaching up to 30 degrees Celsius). One person was reportedly even dressed up as a Christmas tree this year.

World Santa Claus Congress in Denmark (Reuters/A. Kelly)

Among the 15 nationalities attending this year are Santas from Japan, Canada and the US

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The WSSC dates back to 1957 when its founder, Bakken entertainer Christian Jorgen Nielsen — known locally as "Professor Tribini" — decided to bring Santas together for some socializing as well as a healthy dose of festive cheer at the height of summer.

Santa Stan Miller from Alabama told Reuters that Santas come to the event to "enjoy beautiful Copenhagen and to share and exchange information and ideas about how to make the world a better place to live for everyone."

"That is what being Santa Claus is all about," he added.

World Santa Claus Congress in Denmark (picture-alliance/Scanpix Denmark/S. C. Noergaard)

Even Santas deserve a bit of fun - before having to get ready for their busy season later in the year

Read more: Why St. Nicholas puts candy in boots and stole our hearts

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