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Seven weeks before Easter Day, on Sunday, it is fastelavn. This year, fastelavn is thus on February 26. But what is it? Some would be inclined to say Danish Halloween, and while there are similarities, like kids dressing up in costumes, there are also many differences. 

Fastelavn is a carnival of sorts. Kids dress up in costumes and go trick and treating. Though it is reminiscent of Halloween, another tradition that has been making its way into Denmark, fastelavn has deeper cultural roots. It is mostly for kids, and few adults dress up.

In daycare institutions and the like, kids “knock the cat out of the barrel” with a bat. In the old times, a black cat was put in a barrel as a symbol of evil and beaten to death. Nowadays, the barrel is filled with candy, and kids compete for “Cat Queen” (the one who knocks the bottom off the barrel and “Cat King” (the one who beats the last remaining board off the barrel). 

You will already now see fastlavnsboller, sweet buns, in bakery windows. These are typically filled with cream or jam.     

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