Red Deer Danish Canadian Club

Proud Member of the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada



Sometimes referred to as 'Danish Halloween' or 'Danish Mardi Gras', this is a celebration that has its roots in pagan times in old Denmark.  Townsfolk would dress up in costumes to scare away evil spirits - and so that the evil spirits wouldn't recognize them! Traditional events include slå katten af tønden ("hit the cat out of the barrel"), which is somewhat similar to using a pinata. The Danes use a wooden or papermache barrel, which is full of candy and has the image of a cat on it. Historically there was a real black cat in the barrel, and beating the barrel was considered a safeguard against evil as the frightened cat would scamper out of town, taking the evil spirits with it.

Nowadays, the children take turns beating the barrel until it is broken and the candy pours out.  The one who knocks down the bottom of the barrel (making all the candy spill out) becomes kattedronning ("queen of cats"); the one who knocks down the last piece of the barrel becomes kattekonge ("king of cats").  In medieval days, this became quite the competition between farms.  Each farmer would send a representative and the one who knocked out the cat would be granted a tax exemption for the next year.

Our celebration takes the form of a costume party, complete with a meal, dancing, and, of course, the 'cat' in the barrel.  This year we're partnering with the Danish Canadian Museum.

                                  March 9, 2019   Fensala Hall, Markerville

5:30     Happy Hour

6:30     Supper:   Club supplies the pork roast, bring potluck salad, veggies or dessert

7:30     Slå katten af tønden

8:30     Dancing

Cost is $20 per member (non-members add $5.00).  Children under 16 are free.  We are limited to 80 people so get your tickets soon.  Call Larry at 403 728 3027 or email at to reserve your tickets. Please RSVP by March 4.