Fastelavn: Denmark’s Mardi Gras

Tomorrow I’m leaving for my first week of travel, so I should have spent today getting ahead on homework assignments and packing. Instead I spent the day with my host family celebrating Fastelavn.

Delicious Fastelavn Boller

Delicious Fastelavn Boller


Fastelavn the Scandinavian version of Carnival, or the celebration that comes before Lent in Roman Catholic traditions. Despite the fact that Denmark is relatively nonreligious as a whole, the celebration has survived, most likely because it entails lots of fun traditions, including delicious sweet rolls, silly costumes and pinatas. It is often called Denmark’s Halloween, because Halloween didn’t become popular in Denmark until around ten years ago.



I’m so glad that I didn’t book my travel from Friday because instead I had the chance to celebrate with my host family. I put on tall socks and braided my hair in a haphazard attempt to be Pippi Longstocking.

My sweet host sister, Lea & I in our Fastelavn costumes

My sweet host sister, Lea, & I in our Fastelavn costumes

There was also two piñatas, one for children and one for adults. However, the Danish idea of a piñata is made of plywood, and thus a lot more durable than the paper maché ones of the US. The children’s barrel took almost an hour to break, and the adult’s wasn’t much better.

Danish "piñata"

Danish “piñata”




After the day at my host family’s, I headed home to pack, and now crank out one last blog post before I head off and (possibly) go silent for the week.

What I should have been doing all day.

What I should have been doing all day.

I can’t wait to recount next week’s adventures for anyone who’s reading.

Mange Hilsner,





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