These are usually the first thoughts of someone new to Denmark when they hear the 'cat in a barrel' history of Fastelavn. But from a child's perspective, what's not to like. They get to dress up, hit a barrel with a bat, and eat candy.

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Fastelavn is a Danish festival with roots tracing back to medieval times. Originally a religious tradition to mark the beginning of Lent, it has evolved into a popular celebration for children in Denmark.

At Lolland International School, we celebrate this tradition through our morning SFO painting and preparing the barrels, and our younger grades dressing up in costumes. Central to the festivities is the tradition of "slå katten af tønden" (hit the cat out of the barrel). Participants take turns hitting a barrel filled with candy until it breaks, symbolizing the defeat of winter. The person who delivers the final blow is crowned "kattedronning" (cat queen) or "kattekonge" (cat king).

As a special treat all pupils and staff receive a fastelavnsboller, which is a filled Danish pastry.

Fastelavn reflects Denmark's blend of historical customs with modern, family-oriented celebrations.