Fastelavn på Christianshavn

Our weekend of loosely structured house hunting happened to coincide with Fastelavn. It is a religious festival in Scandinavia that has its origins in Carnival and Lent – sadly my complete lack of religious education* prevents me from shedding any more light on the matter than that.

We were, however, filled with born again religious fervor to celebrate Fastelavn when we learned that it involved special buns – Fastelavnsbolle. Awww yeah, cream buns.

The areas we wanted to check out in Christianshavn conveniently housed some primo bakeries so we could intersperse our house hunting chores with treats. We went with a super classic cream bun from Holms Bageri, and pushed the boat out with a blueberry cream with nougat mousse edition from Lagkagehuset. Pretty much the most transcendental religious experience I have had.

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Holms Bageri to the back and Lagkagehuset in front

My favourite thing about Fastelavnsbolle is actually this excellent Danish song about them:

Dansk: 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.

English: 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.

I don’t know poetry, but I know what I like, and this really speaks to me.

This song is very relevant to the next cultural experience that we happened upon while finishing our cream buns. Basically a lot of very dressed up people on very well decorated horses wielding wooden batons were making their way through town, stopping to demand cakes at bakeries and at bars to demand alcohol via song. It’s like the most intimidating and awesome version of trick or treat I have ever seen. I want to go Danish horseback trick or treating real bad.

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Everyone looked tough, I can see why people meet their demands…

For those of you who like poor quality phone video, here is the pack moving on after downing a bunch of shots outside Fingerbøllet:

We were interested in renting a flat in the red building, until we learned it was opposite yet another 24 hour bar… we’d never cheat on Cosy Bar like that

Another key Fastelavn event is apparently ‘slå katten af tønden’ (‘hit the cat out of the barrel’). In olden, some may say better, times this involved getting dressed up in costume, putting an actual black cat in a barrel and then clubbing the barrel with sticks until it breaks apart and the cat, quite reasonably, runs away (the fleeing cat presumably representing evil spirits being driven away).

Unsurprisingly, this tradition has had the animal cruelty removed, and now involves little kids beating a purpose-built barrel with a black cat painted on it until lollies fall out, pinata style. Fastelavn seems to be the Danish equivalent of halloween, but with bonus cream buns.

Once we left the horse riders behind the day got a lot more sedate. We mainly wandered around lovely Christianshavn and got a bit rained on, and found a cool secret garden.

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Christianshavn canals

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So nautical, I’m so sad we couldn’t find a house boat to live in…

We also checked out Christiania, a ‘self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood’, which is boring speak for ‘off-the-grid pot, shrooms and graffiti haven’. It was Anthony’s first choice of neighbourhood to live in but alas we couldn’t find any vacant gunny shacks to proclaim as our own. The strict rules banning running or photography means you’ll have to go walk through there yourself to get a better idea of the place.

We ended the day heading home via Nyhavn. After trekking all over the city to see areas in Christianshavn, Østerbro, Nørreport, and Frederiksberg, the place we ended up finding to rent is actually very close to this inner city area, despite us not really setting out to live in the middle of tourist-land. Brace yourself for lots of clichéd Nyhavn shots in the future I guess! Ah, who am I kidding, we are totally tourists – might as well lean into it.

Blog Nyhavn

So yeah, in summary – buns 2, ‘cultural experiences’ 2, joints/shrooms 0, future houses 1.

*Other than passively absorbing the religious imagery in Nick Cave songs

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