Yesterday (and today at school) was a special holiday in Denmark called Fastelavn. You may be able to guess from the name that it involves Lent. It is the Scandinavian carnival or Fat Tuesday like we have in the USA. There are a few special traditions that go into it.
The first is that the children (and adults) dress up in costume. We’ve been telling the girls that it is second Halloween. Claire went as Vampirina because she received fangs from the dentist and wanted to showcase them to her classmates. We found a creepy skirt with spiders and webs on it and matching wings at a thrift shop. We already had the “ears” on hand from a book we had received from grandma.
Avery went as a ballerina fairy. That is her to the T. She loves dressing up. Her entire outfit was also found at the thrift shop.
While dropping the girls off at school, I saw many costumes. There were clowns, Disney princesses, police officers, superheros and even an adult Elsa. It truly looked like Halloween.
Another tradition on Fastelavn is to eat fastelavnsboller. These are a sweet pastry type bun filled with creme, custard or jam and topped with icing. They can be overflowing with creme or just have a little bit. There are even some with faces on them or lots of sprinkles. Many different varieties to choose from.
The classroom was decorated with fastelavnsris which is basically sticks decorated with colorful paper, cats and treats. They are supposedly used to hit parents and wake them in the morning for Fastelavn (this did not happen in our house). Avery had some black cat crafts around her rooms as well.
From here I’ll write what Claire says happened throughout the rest of the day:
A barrel was hung up near my classroom. (History: This barrel is called a fastelavnstønde. Back in the day, the barrel had a black cat in it. The barrel and cat were beaten to ward off evil spirits. Dark…Today, it is just filled with candy and is easily breakable. Sort of like a piñata.) I was first because I was the new kid in the class. We started taking turns hitting the barrel. I hit the barrel a bunch of times until one of my classmates knocked it down. He was crowned the king (kattekonge) and since the barrel fell down and broke, the kid behind him was crowned the queen (kattedronning). The sweets were gummi bears, M&Ms and a type of taffy. It was a really fun time even though my hand hurt from hitting the barrel.
There are also a few songs learned around this time. This is the one Claire learned:
To learn more about Fastelavn and all the words/traditions that go with it, check out the Copenhagen Language Center.