It’s yet another long weekend thanks to the public holiday of Whitsun, or Pentecost. Celebrated 50 days after Easter to mark the descent of the Holy Ghost, the holiday is these days mostly bereft of its religious meaning in Denmark.
But the lack of traditions doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty to do over the course of this three-day weekend. Here are our top five picks for getting the most out of the latest break from work.
1. Watch the sun dance
Will we see the sun? Photo: Colourbox
While it’s true that there aren’t so many traditions associated with Whitsun, the one custom that has remained through the years is the practice of watching ‘the sun dance’ on Whit Sunday morning. Some Danes greet the early morning arrival of the sun with a drink of the traditional Danish bitter Gammel Dansk (which is now technically Norwegian).
But of course in order to watch the sun dance, you need the sun. On that note, meteorology institute DMI offers some hope. The Sunday forecast calls for mostly sunny skies in the morning before clouding over in the afternoon. Temperatures should reach 12-15C on Sunday, while on Monday we can look forward to highs up to 17C on our day off, although DMI does call for a chance of some scattered rains.
2. Get a taste of Rio in Denmark
The 2014 Aalborg Carnival. Photo: Jakob Kildehave
In both Copenhagen and Aalborg, the streets will be alive with bright colours, half-naked people, samba sounds and dancing revellers. The Copenhagen Carnival and Aalborg Carnival will overlap this weekend but somewhat surprisingly, the real party is in Aalborg, which despite being just Denmark’s fourth largest city hosts the biggest carnival celebration in northern Europe with up to 60,000 participants. In both cities, there will be parades on Saturday and in Copenhagen there will also be a special children’s parade on Sunday. The Aalborg Carnival activities have been underway since May 15, so its children’s version was last weekend. Check the links above for more info.
3. Celebrate the new Istedgade
Istedgade before its pedestrian-friendly makeover. Photo: Nils Meilvang/Scanpix
Copenhagen’s Istedgade is a street long associated with sex shops, prostitutes and junkies but that has changed dramatically in recent years. Well-off families have moved in, rents have gone up and the once shady street is now another hipster haven (though the rougher elements do remain). On Saturday, Vesterbro will celebrate the completion of the Istedgade renewal project, which was aimed at making the street more pedestrian friendly by widening sidewalks and making more space for outdoor serving at cafes. From 3-9pm, the street will be completely closed to vehicular traffic and there will be activities for young and old, including a full line-up of outdoor concerts. Here’s your chance to see if Istedgade still has its funky spirit or has fallen victim to gentrification. More information here (in Danish).
4. Copenhagen Marathon
The Copenhagen Marathon. Photo: Sparta
If a mix of hipsters, prostitutes and addicts isn’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer to watch the over 11,000 racers who will be participating in the Copenhagen Marathon on Sunday. Beginning and ending on Islands Brygge, the route will pass landmarks including Amalienborg Palace, The Citadel, Tivoli and the National Gallery of Denmark. The race begins at 9.30am. More information here.
5. Channel your inner Jesus and walk on water
Walk on water. Photo: Anders Printz
Frederiksholm Church is holding a Whit Monday party at the Tiles Islet (Teglholmen), the peninsula in Copenhagen’s South Harbour between Sluseholmen and Enghave Brygge. There will be a church service, gospel and jazz performances, pony rides for the kids and a chance to walk on water. “Those who have the courage to walk in Jesus’s footprints can hop into the see-through Waterballs and take a walk on the water,” the church writes on its website. The programme on Teglholmen begins at 11am. More information here (in Danish).
Here's wishing you a nice long weekend!