Bid winter’s darkness goodbye with buns and a bang

From attending a church service to bashing the barrel, there are once again a host of activities to do on Fastelavn in the capital region

As New Orleans revs up to party the night away on Bourbon Street for Mardi Gras, Denmark is similarly preparing its sweet cream buns and practising its best batting position for Fastelavn, the traditional Danish Shrovetide.
Events for the whole family will be held all around the Copenhagen area and beyond in the days leading up to and on Sunday February 26.

Bashing the cat
Children and adults alike will be donning their wackiest costumes and munching on delicious fastelavnsboller (Fastelavn buns) – but only after having a whack at the time-honoured act of tøndeslagning (barrel beating)!
As tradition dictates, a black cat is placed in a barrel, and one proceeds to smack the barrel with a bat, scaring away the creature – symbolising the banishment of evil and bad luck for the remainder of the season.

Claiming the candy
However, today the practice is thankfully milder, as instead the barrels are filled with candy. Nevertheless, he or she who provides the smack that releases the sweets is still crowned ‘kattedronning’ or ‘kattekonge’ (king/queen of cats).
The city has much to offer during this exciting season, and everyone’s sure to find something that tickles their Fastelavn fancy – from costume contests to musical events to beer tastings. It’s time to celebrate!

Library Fastelavnsfest
Feb 26, 11:00-16:00; Københavns Biblioteket, Rentemestervej 76, Cph NV; free adm
Many of Denmark’s libraries offer fun events throughout the week for the whole family – including tøndeslagning, costume contests, face painting, mask crafting and delicious treats. Københavns Biblioteket, for example, offers free music and entertainment, hot chocolate, and sweet treats.

Nationalmuseet’s Fastelavnsfest
Feb 26, 12:00-15:00; Nationalmuseet, Prinsens Palæ, Ny Vestergade 10, Cph K; adults 60kr, children 30kr;
At the Nationalmuseet’s Fastelavnsfest, bring the family to watch an hour-long play describing the history behind Fastelavn, and featuring the Children’s Choir. Following the performance, enjoy food and costumed fun.

Charity Fastelavnsfest
Feb 25, 13:00-15:00; KPH-Volume, Enghavevej 80, Cph V; adults free adm, children 100kr;
Looking for some music with a good cause that the kids will love? Look no further than the ‘Sweets and Songs’ Fastelavnsfest at KPH Volume, from which all the proceeds from the charity carnival celebration go directly to Save the Children. The line-up includes M Beard, Louis & Sebastian from Ramsjang, and Tormod Trolle and Chapper.

Fastelavn i Zoo
Feb 26, 11:00, 12:30 & 14:00; Zoologisk Have, Roskildevej 32, Frederiksberg; children 100kr, adults 180kr;
Delight in all-ages fun at Fastelavn i Zoo, bring the costumes, hang out with the animals and take your whack at tøndeslagning. Don’t miss the reindeer!

Vinterferie på Gimle
Feb 26, 12:00; Gimle, Helligkorsvej 2, Roskilde; 60kr;
Gimle for børn’s ‘Vinterferie på Gimle’ offers something for all children and parents at its Fastelavn celebration. Each ticket including a fastelavnsboller, coffee or cocoa, and a bag of goodies! And of course, don’t even think about coming without your best costume. All ages are welcome!

Church Services
Feb 26, most services 10:30 or 11:00;
Church services where costumes are encouraged will be held on Sunday all over Greater Copenhagen. Check online to find the service closest to you, whether it’s in the city centre, Christianshavn, Vesterbro, Sydhavn, Frederiksberg, Østerbro, Nørrebro, Amager, Valby, Vanløse, Brønshøj or Husum.

Fastelavn Breakfast
Feb 26, 11:00-14:00; Hard Rock Café Copenhagen, Rådhuspladsen 45-47, Cph K; 129kr, children 99kr;
Hard Rock Café Copenhagen invites you to enjoy a full traditional American breakfast (costumes required) and then to crown the king and queen of Fastelavn directly following. Breakfast and non-alcoholic drinks are included in advance ticket purchases.

Fastelavn Beer
Feb 24, 19:00; Jacobsen Brewhouse & Bar, Gamle Carlsberg Vej 11, Cph V; 50kr, (75kr at the door);
As if you were looking for an excuse to taste some delicious beer! The Carlsberg brewery will be opening its taps and serving up the city’s best beer to celebrate Fastelavn. Bring your best costume and dance the night away with in-house DJs (until 01:00) and take the opportunity to participate in tøndeslagning using Carlsberg beer barrels. “Who knows what goodies are inside the Carlsberg beer barrels,” say the party organisers. (AM)

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