Danish Language Blog

Buns Up Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Traditions

Fastelavn, slå katten af tønden 01 (ubt)It’s fastelavn [fast-eh-LAOON]! Last year I told you about this fun tradition, where children all over Denmark klæder sig ud (dress up) and pound a hanging barrel with a bat until the slik (candy) comes out. (This is called at slå katten af tønden, which roughly means ”beating the cat out of the barrel”. People say that many years ago, there used to be a living cat in the barrel…)

Some children bring their kostumer to the street, and go fra dør til dør (from door to door) asking for sweets or penge (money). Sometimes they sing Fastelavnsangen – the Fastelavn song. The whole text runs like this:


er mit navn,

boller vil jeg have,

hvis jeg ingen boller får,

så laver jeg ballade.


Boller op

og boller ned,

boller i min mave,

hvis jeg ingen boller får,

så laver jeg ballade.



is my name,

buns I want,

if I don’t get any buns,

I’ll make ballade (trouble).


Buns up

and buns down,

buns in my stomach,

if I don’t get any buns,

I’ll make ballade.

Sure, danskere er vilde med at klæde sig ud (Danes love dressing up). If you study in Denmark you are guaranteed to be invited to a lot oftemafester (theme parties) with udklædning (dressing-up)! But I guess the bun part of the song is what most adults are looking forward to in connection with fastelavn! 🙂

The fastelavnsboller (Fastelavn buns) is a Danish speciality. You take a bolle made out of lyst mel (light flour, that means: a British or French kind of bun, not the Danish grovboller or coarse buns!) Then you flækker (split it with a knife) it in two halves. Whip some flødeskum (whipped cream), and put it between the two bun parts (like a hamburger). Put some flormelis (icing sugar) on the top. Mmm…

Many people also add syltetøj (jam) or marcipan to the cream. And if you really want at gå amok (to run amuck) in fastelavnsboller, just visit a Danish bager (baker). You’ll find some real kaloriebomber (”calorie bombs”) there, with cream and chocolate and sugar and berries and…

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


  1. Cheryl:

    Can you please advise as to the greeting I would use in Danish on Fastenlavn? I would like to surprise our Danish exchange student on that day!

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Cheryl @Cheryl – Sorry about the late reply; hope you found a solution. 🙂 I don’t really know of a specific Fastelavn greeting – maybe ”god fastelavn”?