Occasional song

An occasional song is a novelty song or ballad written and sung for a special occasion. Occasional songs were a cultural tradition throughout Europe and were often important in immigrant communities. In Denmark the tradition of the lejlighedssang has remained strong.

Lejlighedssange, wrapped as decorative cones, are distributed at a confirmation party.

Occasional songs were once customary in many European cultures, and remained traditional in immigrant communities, for example those of Jews in America.[1]

The Danish lejlighedssang remains a strong tradition,[2] part of family celebrations, particularly during confirmation, wedding and anniversary parties. Participants write lyrics for the specific occasion composed upon a popular tune. Copies of the lyrics are written on decorative pages and distributed among the celebrants to be read and sung en masse. The tradition in Denmark dates back to the street ballads and political club songs of the late 1700s.[3] Group singing became further integrated across Danish society by the influence of N. F. S. Grundtvig's national consciousness and public school movements in the mid-1800s.[3] By post-World War II, the singing of lejlighedssange at celebrations was typical.[3] According to Danish historians, the lejlighedssang persists in modern Danish culture as an important form of group bonding or fælleskab (togetherness).[2][3]


  1. ^ Slobin, Mark (1996), Tenement Songs: The Popular Music of the Jewish Immigrants, vol. 1, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, p. 133, ISBN 978-0-252-06562-0
  2. ^ a b Stølen, Marianne (1992). "Codeswitching for Humour and Ethnic Identity: Written Danish-American Occasional Songs". Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 13 (1&2): 218. doi:10.1080/01434632.1992.9994492. ISBN 9781853591679.
  3. ^ a b c d Kjær, Jakob Sorgenfri (17 April 2009). "Fællessangen er en gammel slager". Politiken (in Danish). Retrieved 31 October 2011.

Further readingEdit

  • Tove Stolen, Marianne (1993), "The Genre of Lejlighedssange", Harmonien: an ethnohistorical sociolinguistic analysis of a Danish-American organization, Odense University studies in history and social sciences, vol. 168, Odense: Odense University Press, ISBN 978-87-7492-937-6
  • Preiserl, Ebbe; Dal, Hans; Albrectsen, Klaus (2011). Om lidt er sangen klar ... - Den danske lejlighedssang fra Kingo til Rap (in Danish). Vistoft. ISBN 978-87-87734-70-7.