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“Fastelavn” or “Shrovetide”

“Fastelavn” is a carnival and in Denmark, it is mostly a party for children.

It is always the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
The term “Fastelavn” means “fast evening” or the day before Lent.
In Denmark, we are mostly Protestants and “Fastelavn” is now a tradition without the Lent.

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“Beat the cat out of the barrel”

“Slå katten af tønden” translates to “Beat the cat out of the barrel”.
It is an old tradition in Denmark and it is like using a piñata.
In Denmark, it is a decorated wooden barrel hanging from a rope.

The barrel is often filled with candy, oranges, small raisin packages and similar stuff.
If “beating the cat out of the barrel” is outside the treats are given to the children after the “beating”.
You beat the barrel with a normal bat until there are no pieces of the barrel left on the rope.

We have a “Kattedronning” – a ”Queen of cats”, it is the person – male or female – who knocks down the bottom of the barrel.
“Kattekongen” – the “King of cats” – is the person – male or female – that get the last of the barrel down.

They are crowned with a golden paper crown, a small one for the “Queen” and a large one for the “King”.

Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com

“Beat the cat out of the barrel” – in the old days

Earlier (up to the 19th century) “Fastelavn” was a party for the adults.
They revelled, binging on food and alcohol.
They also dressed up as something scary 👹 – hmm Halloween?
– AND then they “Beat the cat out of the barrel”.

There was a LIVE CAT in the barrel!?!

The cat was a symbol of evil – and to beat it would protect all against evil for the next year.
It is a Dutch tradition that came along with the Dutch potato farmers in the 1500s during the reign of Christian II.

In the old days, it wasn’t a kid’s party, but it is today.

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“Beat the cat out of the barrel” – Today

Today when we “Beat the cat out of the barrel”, the cat is made out of cardboard or paper and the cat is glued ON the barrel.

Where I live, ALL ages “beat the cat out of the barrel”

Sunday morning
Out on our street
Freezing cold
At 10 am…

Only the children are dressed up as Batman, Spiderman, ladybirds, princesses….
The grownups are dressed up in their warmest clothes 🙂

There are prices for the “King of cats” – wine for adults and money for the kids.
Getting the last of the barrel down takes FOREVER – when it is the little ones hitting the barrel.
Yes – we have barrels for the toddlers, the young kids, the teenagers, the women and the men.

After all the “beating the cat out of the barrel” the grownups drink coffee and have a “fastelavnsbolle” a “Shrovetide Bun”?
The children get a bag of treats.

And the adult “Fastelavn” outside is over.

Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com

The children still dressed up in costumes, go door to door singing the “Fastelavnssang”.
They sing for treats or money.
– the costume and treats bit is like our Danish scary version of Halloween.

Original Danish “Fastelavnssang”:

Fastelavn er mit navn,
Boller vil jeg have.
Hvis jeg ingen boller får,
Så laver jeg ballade.
Boller op, boller ned
Boller i min mave.
Hvis jeg ingen boller får,
Så laver jeg ballade.

Lokal variant:

Fastelavn er mit navn,
Penge vil jeg have.
Hvis jeg ingen penge får,
Så laver jeg ballade.
Penge op, penge ned
Penge vil jeg have.
Hvis jeg ingen penge får,
Så laver jeg ballade.

English translation ”Shrovetide song”:

Shrovetide is my name,
Buns I want.
If I get no buns,
I will make trouble.
Buns up, buns down
Buns in my tummy.
If I get no buns,
I will make trouble.

Local variation:

Shrovetide is my name,
Money I want.
If I get no money,
I will make trouble.
Money up, money down
Money I want.
If I get no money,
I will make trouble.

Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com

Where I live children often sings both versions – like two verses of the same song.

“Fastelavn” Friday or Monday

“Fastelavn” is also a tradition in schools and in daycares.
It is held on Fridays or Mondays and it is for younger children.

The children dress up.
They “Beat the cat out of the barrel”.
They sing “Shrovetide songs”.
Show of their costumes on a catwalk
and finally, they get a “Shrovetide Bun”.

Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com

The cats – now

We have a different perspective on the cat today.

We use it for decoration only
– on the barrels, hanging on walls or in windows and as ornaments on the “Fastelavnsris”.
“Fastelavnsris” is made of a bunch of twigs often with buds.
It is decorated with paper ornaments and sometimes candy.

Decoration:

I have made different cats templates for you.
There are the traditional cats and some more unconventional cats – both in form and colour.

Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com


You can print the coloured cats, glue them on coloured paper/cardboard and use them as ornaments on a “Fastelavnsris”.

You can also use the coloured/grey cat as a template. Cut the cat out of black cardboard – black the traditional colour.

Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com

There is a cat template without a tail. Sometimes it’s more fun to compose your own tail – spiral-shaped, long, curly, multi-coloured…

The coloured carnival cats can also be printed and cut out as decorations for a “Fastelavns” barrel.

You will find “Carnival cat” templates here

If you use the templates or any idea from Danish Things – I will ❤️ to see them
– Please tag the picture on Instagram use #danishthings or @danish.things or post it here with a comment

Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com

If you want more inspiration:

You’ll find templates for carnival masks “fastelavnsmasker” as well as decorative flags “fastelavnsflag”. (Right now, the posts are in Danish)

If you want, suggestions for “Shrovetide buns” try the Wales buns.
I have a Danish version of a “Fastelavnsbolle” made of croissant dough. But I haven’t translated it yet – if you are brave – try the Google translate option I have in the sidebar. 😉

Thanks to Wikipedia for translating the first verse of the song and special terms.

Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com
Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com
Carnival cats for decoration and as a template - find free decorations, templates, masks, recipes and inspiration on danishthings.com

 

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