What is Halloween?
Halloween is 3 days so it’s only befitting that there be an article celebrating this rather unique festival where sane people go about dressed up and ghosts and ghouls and where children terrorize their neighbors into giving them heaps of candies which, by the way, their parents are okay with. This is one day of the year where all the exorcised evils of the universe are invited back for a day of insane fun, joy, happiness, revelry and feasting.
While Halloween is very popular in the US, Scandinavia has only recently started to embrace Halloween and celebrate this annual event the way it is celebrated in other regions.
»Slik eller Ballade?« will replace the usual »Trick or treat« as you celebrate Halloween in Denmark. Scary costumes are now becoming much more popular with each year, and you will see Halloween-themed decorations and even a few pumpkins here and there. But, all in all, this day is still relatively quiet and you shouldn’t expect this day to be a big event in the Scandinavian countries
This newly forming tradition is popular with kids and shops but unpopular with most adults, because the modern Halloween might sound commercial to some, of the older generation, many Danes complain that this is just Americanization of Denmark. Not all children here go trick or treating, and not all homes actually have anything ready for them.
Halloween originated as a pagan tradition from Ireland then called Samhain. When Ireland became Catholic, the feast was named All Hallows Eve – later shortened to Halloween. Scary faces were cut in beets and put outside to scare away the winter demons. As the Irish immigrated to America beets were replaced by pumpkins, as these grew in abundance.
The modern Halloween came to Denmark about 15 years ago when Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet in 1998 began to arrange Halloween events. It wasn’t long before children’s toy store Fætter BR and theme-park Tivoli followed suit.
But However, the feast was celebrated in Denmark from 610 until 1770, when it was cancelled by the Danish Protestant Church. Back then, the night was named as the translation of All Hallows Eve: Allehelgens aften – the night before Allehelgens dag. For Danish Protestants it was a day to remember and pray for the deceased Christians. The protestant church dates this day for the first Sunday in November. Thus, Allehelgens aften, the ‘original’ protestant Halloween, should be celebrated the night before, on Saturday 5 November.
If you are in the mood to celebrate this original protestant holiday, you can do so at Vor Frelsers Kirke. The church will be filled with classical and jazz music inspired by Christian saints and mystics. This special night is called ‘Image of God – Allehelgensforestilling’
The event is from 21:00 till midnight on Saturday 5 November. Tickets can be bought at the door or on billetnet for 80 –160 DKK.
If you happen to be in Denmark around Halloween, visit Copenhagen’s Tivoli amusement park, which celebrates Halloween in Tivoli from the 9th of October when Tivoli opens it’s Halloween themed park for ten days.