|Numerous festivals take place in Denmark each year. They range from events such as the annual, and internationally famous, Roskilde Festival to local village festivals.
NYTARSDAG (New Year's Day) January 1
In towns and cities throughout Denmark the New Year marks the beginning of one of the most important social events in the calendar. Men and women attend church services and later call on relatives and friends to wish them a Happy New Year. The conventional call lasts for about a half hour and the customary refreshments consist of wine and small cookies. The exchange of visits is carried on for about a fortnight.
HELLIG-TRE-KONGERS-DAG (Day of the Three Holy Kings) January 6
"Hellig-Tre-Kongers-Dag, the twelfth day after Christmas, brings the festive season to an official end. The Christmas tree is dismantled, all greens are taken from the house and the Christmas ornaments packed away for another year.
This is the night when young girls traditionally play fortunetelling games. One time-honored method for a girl to decide her fate is to walk backward, throw a shoe over her left shoulder and pray the Holy Kings to reveal the future. The man who subsequently appears in her dreams will be her future husband"
FJORTENDE FEBRUAR (Fourteenth of February) February 14
FASTELAVN (Shrovetide) The Monday preceding Ash Wednesday
On this day school children exchange friendship tokens, which consist of pressed snowdrops accompanied by original verses. The sender signs the gaekkebrev, or joking letter, with a series of dots--one dot standing for each letter in the name. When the boy who receives the gaekkebrev guesses the sender's name correctly, the girl is expected to reward him at Easter with a chocolate or sugar egg. If, on the contrary, the boy fails to decipher the name, he is expected to pay the forfeit.
"Fastelavn, the Monday preceding Ash Wednesday, is a general school holiday and one of the gayest times of year for boys and girls. Everybody celebrates the day by eating Fastelavnsboller, or Shrovetide buns, which are as important in youthful games and customs as in festive adult menus.
In some places children armed with ""Lenten birches,"" or branches decorated with brightly colored paper flowers, rise at four or five in the morning, enter the rooms of parents or grandparents and waken them by beating the bedclothes with their switches. ""Give buns, give buns, give buns,"" the children shout, meanwhile inflicting resounding smacks with their branches. From the mysterious depths of the covers the ""sleeping"" grown-ups always produce the traditional Fastelavnsboller (and sometimes even candy), with which the youthful tormentors customarily are rewarded. Possibly this custom survives from ancient times when the ""Easter smacks,"" delivered in many lands at this season, were regarded as part of an early spring purification rite."