Brooklyn Celebrates ‘Danish Mardi Gras’

Ellen Ryen (left) playing the game “I could tissue.” (Photo by Steve Solomonson via Brooklyn Daily)

Ellen Ryen (left) playing the game “I could tissue.” (Photo by Steve Solomonson via Brooklyn Daily)

Residents of the Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Sunset Park areas, all home at one point to a large Scandinavian community, celebrated Fastelavn on Feb. 22 at the Danish Athletic Club in Sunset Park, reports Brooklyn Daily. And it involved some extortion by children.

Traditionally, celebrants used the day as a gluttonous bash before the Spartan pre-Easter season of Lent — similar to the New Orleans tradition of Mardi Gras. But the Scandinavian festival wraps in another familiar holiday tradition — costumed children extorting treats from adults.

“It’s like a Mardi Gras with trick-or-treating,” said organizer Victoria Hofmo, who runs the East Coast Scandinavian Museum.

In one tradition, kids visit neighbors and sing a song promising “trouble” if they don’t get Fastelavn buns — a sweet, creme-filled roll, she said.

Partygoers had to settle for cream puffs though, as Nordic Delicacies, which had provided the buns in previous years, recently closed.

Go to Brooklyn Daily to read more on a game that once involved putting a cat in a barrel but these days doesn’t harm any animals.

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