Monday, March 7, 2011


I'm feeling like quite the Martha Stewart of Denmark after just finishing sewing my son's Fastelavn costume for his weekly daycare playgroup. In a rash moment of craftiness, I decided to scrap spending $35 at Toys 'R Us on a maniacal bunny costume and instead bought $15 worth of fabric, needles and thread and cobbled together what can only be described as a maniacal jungle cat costume.

What have you done to me?
For all you un-initiated Americans, Fastelavn is Danish Carnival, a holiday that falls the Sunday or Monday before Ash Wednesday and is kind of a Nordic style Halloween. Children dress up in costumes and load up on sugary Fastelavnsboller (sweet cream filled pastry rolls) and candy. Traditionally, a game is played where kids whack a wooden barrel with a picture of a black cat on it to break open a stash of treats. Historically, there were real black cats in the barrel and the event was supposed to ward off evil as only the superstitious, ritualistic killing of innocent animals can do.

Now back to my sewing job. I haven't sewn anything for real since sixth-grade Home Ec when I managed to piece together a stuffed pig on a sewing machine. The major accomplishment wasn't the animal so much as my pride in only managing to sew my own fingers three or four times. But I am getting a sense that my new compatriots are a rather crafty bunch. While it may be difficult to find a large variety of food items, I have found no such shortage in the craft department which in turn caused a five-second mental query on whether wool is actually edible. [Technically, yes, but not gastronomically or medically advisable.]

Certainly my Fastelavn project won't be winning the Danish Design Prize any time soon (or in any universe really) but I feel justified in giving myself a big 'ol American pat on the back. Coming from a world where Target is a multi-purpose family problem solving behemoth, I feel I have in some small way pushed my American butt toward something a little more European, a little less mass-consumer - or at least a $2,000 bill some years down the road for my son's future therapist as he strugles to come to terms with his mothers' horrifyingly abstract interpretation of an "animal" theme...