Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What Are You Giving Up For Lent? What Do You Have Left?

I will admit that the following "festival" marking the approach of Lent sounds suspiciously like a Seinfeld routine, but it's in a real Danish paper and it doesn't look like an Onion article...at least not intentionally.

"The major aspects of the Danish ‘Fastelavn’ are beating a cat out of a barrel, singing ‘Fastelavn er mit navn’ and Lenten buns.

In the game of ‘Slå katten af tønden (beating a cat out of a barrel)’, the children hit a suspended wooden barrel that is full of candy until the bottom of the barrel breaks and candy starts to fall out. The child doing this becomes ‘kattedronning (queen of cats)’. After the candy pours out, the game continues until the entire barrel is broken. The child who knocks out the last piece of the barrel becomes ‘kattekonge (king of cats)’.

Today, the barrel has the image of a cat painted on it. Historically, however, there was a real black cat in the barrel, and beating it was superstitiously considered a safeguard against evil. It was once believed that killing a cat meant a town could avoid the plague."

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