Danish Big Prayer Day - what are you praying for?

Denmark will be closed this Friday (26 April 2013). Not that Danish schoolkids will actually notice any difference… After all, they’ve been at home from school – slowly turning into zombies - for over a month now due to the LockOut of the Danish school teachers!

But I digress! What is happening on Friday? Well, it’s time for the strangest holiday on the Danish religious calendar… Stor Bededag. ’Big Prayer Day’! Yep, those crazy Danes decided back in 1686 that there were just too many religious holidays during the year so they lumped the minor ones together, four weeks after Easter. Makes sense to me ;)

Big Prayer Day was traditionally a time to fast and pray. Hee hee! I’ve yet to meet a Dane who willingly goes to church (apart – selvfølgelig – from christenings, confirmations and weddings). Most people will spend the day gardening or working on a DIY project. Or will make a day trip to Sweden, where it’s business as usual and cash registers will be working overtime.

Even if the Danes don’t pray on Friday, they will – because they love and defend their traditions with a vengeance – eat hveder on Thursday night. Large, fluffy rolls which you halve, toast and butter. They’re already on sale at the bakers…but they don’t come cheap! (And they all taste pretty bland, so I normally just buy the cheap ones from the supermarket – it’s the thought that counts after all?)

And after you’ve had your hveder, you’re supposed to go for a stroll around the city ramparts at Kastellet (Copenhagen Citadel). You don’t live near Kastellet? Well, sit back, relax and enjoy Denmark’s finest rock band, Magtens Korridorer singing about a picnic at the Citadel… (If the guy pretending to sing in the video looks familiar, it’s Nicholas Bro, an actor who was in the The Killing (II) and Borgen

And what about the prayer part? Will I be saying a prayer come Friday? Well, just like all the other mothers of Danish schoolkids, I’ll be praying that our kids are soon back to school! ;)
God Stor Bededag!
Diane :)