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Festivals of Western Europe

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Author Topic: Festivals of Western Europe  (Read 3227 times)
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« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2009, 01:30:44 pm »

In both town and rural communities older children dress up in fancy costumes and fantastic masks and make neighborhood rounds, singing for buns and rattling collection boxes:

Buns up, buns down,
Buns for me to chew!
If no buns you give
I'll rattle till you do!

chant the youngsters, jingling the boxes in which they collect coins for a Fastelavn feast.

    At this season there are many parties at which children play different kinds of bun games. A favorite stunt is to suspend a bun from the chandelier by a string. Everybody takes turns at trying to get a bite of the tempting morsel when the string is set in motion. The one who succeeds gets the bun as prize.

    An old Danish Shrovetide game which adults play extensively even in modern times, is called Sla Katten al Tonden, or "knocking the cat out of the barrel." Often an artificial cat (originally a live one) is enclosed in a suspended wooden barrel--decorated with paper flowers, painted with cat pictures. Each player, armed with a wooden stick, takes a mighty swing at the barrel. The one succeeding in smashing it is proclaimed "Cat King" and receives a prize.

    In some Danish seaport towns the Fastelavn boat is a feature of the season's festivities. A great boat manned by twelve seamen is placed on a truck drawn by several horses and paraded through the streets. Horn players sit beside the driver. A seaman carrying the national flag announces the approach of the truck, which is followed by members of the Seamen's Guild.

    The unique procession halts frequently during its progress through the town. "The ship is coming! The ship is coming!" shout the townsfolk. The musicians play and the men dance. Contributions are collected for sick and needy seamen.
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