Monday, 15 February 2010

Fastelavn på Vidnæsdal

Fastelavn is the equivalent of Carnival in Denmark. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, when children dress up in costumes and gather treats for the Fastelavn feast.

Traditional events include slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel"), which is somewhat similar to using a piñata. The Danes use a wooden barrel, which is full of candy and oranges and has the image of a cat on it. Historically, there was a real black cat in the barrel, and beating the barrel was superstitiously considered a safeguard against evil. After the candy pours out, the game continues until the entire barrel is broken. The one who knocks down the bottom of the barrel (making all the candy spill out) becomes kattedronning ("queen of cats"); the one who knocks down the last piece of the barrel becomes kattekonge ("king of cats").

A popular pastry associated with the day is Fastelavnsbolle (lit. "Fastelavn bun"), a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and sometimes filled with whipped cream.