Fastelavn is here

This Sunday, 26 February Danes will celebrate Fastelavn (Shrovetide).  This traditional Danish carnival is celebrated on the last Sunday before the start of Lent. It’s a popular event - particularly for children who dress up in costume and visit all the houses in the neighbourhood to sing the special Fastelavn song in exchange for sweets (a little like Halloween). 

If you're around do pop in and sample our special Fastelavnsboller - a round sweet pastry covered with icing and filled with custard cream. The significance of the bun is noted is a traditional Fastelavn song sung by children. 

Original Danish

Fastelavn er mit navn,
boller vil jeg have.
Hvis jeg ingen boller får,
så laver jeg ballade.
Boller op, boller ned
boller i min mave.
Hvis jeg ingen boller får,
så laver jeg ballade.

Translation:

Shrovetide is my name,
buns I want.
If I get no buns,
I will make trouble.
Buns up, buns down
buns in my tummy.
If I get no buns,
I will make trouble.

Moral of the story? Never get between a Dane and their bun.

Back in Denmark, schools also host a Fastelavn event in which children take turns at ‘hitting the cat out of the barrel’. Traditionally there was a cat inside, but nowadays it’s just sweets (phew!). The child who knocks out the bottom of the barrel so that all the sweets spill out onto the floor is named ‘cat king’ or ‘cat queen’ and gets to claim the sweets. 

Another popular custom is the Fastelavnsris, with which children wake their parents up on the Sunday morning. They do so by beating them with a bunch of branches tied up with elastic and decorated with feathers, cardboard cats, and sweets. 

During the half term week, we’ll also be hosting a drawing competition for children. Simply draw your best cat picture and we’ll pick three winners at the end of the week who will each receive their own Fastelavnsris.

So pop in any point this week, for a taste of Fastelavn.