Sunday, February 14, 2010


Once again I'll post a picture of the fastelavensris,
the lent faggots.

I quote from Wikipedia;

"Fastelavn evolved from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating in the days before Lent, but after Denmark and Norway became Protestant nations in 1537, the holiday became less specifically religious. This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, with children dressing up in costumes and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast. The holiday is generally considered to be a time for children's fun and family games.

In Denmark and Norway a popular baked good associated with the day is Fastelavnsbolle (lit. "Fastelavns bun", also known in English as "shrovetide bun" or "lenten bun"), a round sweet roll usually covered with icing and sometimes filled with whipped cream. The day after Bun Sunday is Blue Monday, probably the feeling of having eaten and drunk to much. Then comes Fat Tuesday, the last day to fatten up before Lent. Ash Wednesday the Lent starts. In older days this was the day to go to mass and get a ash cross painted on your forehead.

Another popular custom is the "fastelavnsris", with which children ritually flog their parents to wake them up on the morning of Fastelavns Sunday (Quinquagesima).

Fastelavnsris have many shapes and forms and differ from area to area. In some areas they are bunches of twigs, usually from fruit trees and preferably with buds. Those are often decorated with feathers, egg-shells, storks and little figures of babies.

Earlier, it was mainly the young women and the infertile who were flogged. It was also common that a young man would carry his "fastelavnsris" and (of course gently) strike at young women he met on the street. Later it became the children's special right to flog their parents on this day. In any case, the reward given for the flogging would be a fastelavns bun.

Fastelavensris truely is a reminiscence from pre-Christian times.
Now it's mainly made by a women's welfare association. Colorful feathers attached to birch. We buy new every year.

Originated by MaryT, check hers for today


Amrita said...

I like reading about the traditions of Norway. The faggots look very pretty.

Cream filled buns, wow - that 'sy tale book.How the children must be enjoying them and also being reminded of the begining of the holy season.

In India the litergical churches celebrate Ash Wednesday and many people sstart their 40 day fast.

All through lent many churches have home prayer meeting 5 days a week.

EG CameraGirl said...

A fun tradition that has been around a long, long time! I'm sure the children love it.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this before. Thanks for sharing!

Carletta said...

What wonderful history you always share.
These birch limbs and lovely colored feathers would make a beautiful arrangement in a vase. I don't think I'd want to be flogged though. :)

Robin said...

Sweet rolls with icing and whipped cream? Count me in!

The twigs are so pretty with their decorations, what a colorful tradition.

PS I love that photo of your parents, and I love the stories that go with it even more. So very heart-warming.

Kim, USA said...

Thanks for the great information. I only knew a Fat Tuesday when I live here in US. In the Philippines I only knew about Ash Wednesday because we all go to church that day. Thanks for sharing!


Jim said...

You did good here, Felisol. Please don't tell my kids about the flogging part!
Mrs. Jim showed me our calendar for this year. Sunday, Valentine's Day; Monday, President's Day; and Tuesday, Mardi Gras. Wednesday is blank for holidays. Things change, don't they!
I read in the Houston newspaper that there is a company that burns palm leaves given by the churches from Palm Sunday and sells the Ashes the next year, two pounds for $12.00, to churches for using on Ash Wednesday.
Your blog was 'inactive' for over a week, I was wondering if you were sick or were traveling?
Happy RT! :)

Ralph said...

The artistry is in the designs, the colorful cloth sitting on a twig is nice individually. A bunch of these could sit in a vase on the center of a table. Nice and colorful, they work nicely for Lent, as the season is of a sad time, but the bright colors of life are to behold on Easter, and the resurrection of course...

Hootin Anni said...

This is very interesting...faggots tho for some has a whole other meaning [slang for a homosexual]....I'm glad you explained it. They're pretty.

Here is MY R T If you come visit...scroll down below my Heads or Tails entry to find my Ruby Tuesday. :o)

Leora said...

"children ritually flog their parents to wake them up" - my, my!

Why do I remember you telling us about the feathers before? Or was it something else that I remembered? The feathers are lovely.

Thanks for sharing the history and traditions.

Kitchenmaus said...

Does pre-christian mean pagan? I would believe so, since eggs, storks and babies all symbolises birth or spring, a reference to the goddess Ishtar...

Thanks for the read and have a nice week ahead!

Felisol said...

I was warned the the word faggot also might have a slang meaning.
In my glossary it means bunch of twigs.
I don't speak slang, nor will I be dominated by it.

Yes, Jim, I have been a bit under the weather for the last fortnight, but am now struggling my way back.

Children flogging their parents... that was before my time.
Probably something with fertility ritual.

In pre Christian times the Norwegians had a variety of gods, of whom Odin, Thor, Freya, Ull, Balder, Frigg were the foremost.
Earlier the druids seems to have had a great impact.

Our traditions are a mix of religions down the millenniums.

Christian churches often were built where the old cult places had been, to overpower the old gods so to speak.

I did write about the faggots and the feathers last lent as well.
Thought I'd add some new information with the bouquet of this year.

Trish said...

As always, I enjoy learning of your Country's the Birch limbs full of colorful feathers! Reminds me of the "Mardi Gra" which they are celebrating now in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Crown of Beauty said...

What a lovely photo, and what an amazing piece of history, Felisol! Blue Monday, Fat Tuesday... I have never heard of those before.

How beautifully you describe this festival.

I remember Ash Wednesday clearly, as I come from a Catholic country, and I was brought up as one. When I was young,my schoolmates and I would get the ash cross placed on our foreheads early in the morning at the school chapel, and how hard we would try to keep it there the whole day!

And those buns, I think they must be special.

Thank you for posting this!

Patti said...

I had never heard of these traditions of your country. I always learn something when I visit you, Felisol.
The birch twigs adorned with feathers are pretty. The children must enjoy flogging their parents!

Bun Sunday sounds like a great idea!

Terry said...

dear felisol..i am so glad to see you again..i am so tired but i will come tomorrow to feast my eyes on your easter have taught me so terry

John Cowart said...

Thanks. I'd never heard of this custom before.

Maria said...

Great information, as scandinavian am I used with the traditions of ours and I think that it`s good that we are keeping it:)

Ivon said...

Another amazing post with great commentary. In New Orleans, they have a celebration on Fat Tuesday, I wonder if it comes from the same past traditions. I would like to sample the cream filled buns. They sound good. thank you so much for sharing.

Unknown said...

We have feathered birch bouquets for Lent in Sweden too! And Easter witches are children who dress up and go around begging on Maundy Thursday.
Thank you for sharing this!
Best wishes

Vi har fjäderpyntat björkris i Sverige med. Men ingen slår någon med dem! Tiggarseden som liknar "Halloween" är när påskkäringarna är i farten på skärtorsdag.
Det är roligt att studera och jämföra folkseder i olika länder.

♥ Kathy said...

Very interesting..Happy Ruby Tuesday

Mrs. Mac said...

Your post is most enlightening about this holiday event. If one is to be flogged, I suppose adding feathers to the twig/branch would be my first choice;) What a tradition steeped in old customs. We were at Disneyland on Ash Wednesday and saw many ash laden foreheads; a custom we partook in as a Catholic growing up.

Are your dark winter days being chased away by the promise of spring?:)

Marice said...

that sounds really interesting :) thanks for sharing!

u may view mine here