Fastelavn and the Fastelavnsbolle
In Denmark, there is a tradition called Fastelavn. Fastelavn is celebrated seven weeks before Easter Day. Therefore, Fastelavn this year falls on Sunday February 14. But what is Fastelavn?
Fastelavn is a carnival of sort, where kids dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. It is celebrated in daycare institutions, schools etc. While Fastelavn is mostly for children, as few adults dress up, you can experience that the students at the university also will celebrate Fastelavn by having Fastelavn Parties.
Fastelavn is an old tradition and has deep cultural roots. It is based on the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating the days before Lent. At Fastelavn, kids “knock the cat out of the barrel” with a bat. Or in Danish, "Slå katten af tønden". In the old times, a black cat was literally put in a barrel as a symbol of evil and beaten to death. This was done to ward off evil.
Nowadays, however, the barrel is filled with candy. When the kids knock the barrel, they compete to become “Cat Queen” and “Cat King”. "Cat Queen" is the one who knocks the bottom off the barrel so that the candy comes flushing out, while the person who becomes "Cat King" is the one who knocks the last remaining board off the barrel.
Another tradition related to Fastelavn is eating Fastelavnsboller. Back in December we raved about 'æbleskiver', but now it is time for 'fastelavnsboller'. Somehow here in Denmark we have managed to find a special treat for every season or holiday.
The big heavy bun of Danish pastry filled with cream, jam or whipped cream, and with chocolate icing on the top.
The Fastelavnsbolle has gotten even more hyped over time, and now people are searching for the best's ones throughout town, which means that the bakeries really must up their game. Nowadays, the Fastelavnsbolle can be bought already from the beginning of January.
You can read even more about Fastelavn here.