It was the storm before the calm!
Scandinavian-blooded Brooklynites danced, played games, and stuffed their faces for Fastelavn — the Danish Mardi Gras that comes before the Lenten season of fasting — at Vesuvio restaurant in Bay Ridge on Feb. 20. The celebration is a cross between Halloween and “Fat Tuesday” — but steeped in the Lutheran traditions common to Scandinavia. Bay Ridge — once heavily Norwegian — celebrates the party to keep tradition alive, according to one reveler who dressed up as Olive Oil to her husband’s Popeye.
“It’s sort of like a Halloween tradition — in the old days, they dressed up as trolls and gods and things from old Scandinavian myths,” Barbara Bernsten said. “Bay Ridge used to be full of Scandinavian people, now there’s quite a few left but the area is becoming very, very diverse, so we’re trying to keep a few activities going that are very Norwegian.”
The celebration goes down before the Christian fasting season of Lent — much like Mardi Gras.
Accordionist Ellen Lindstrom played popular American and Scandinavian tunes for the crowd, and organizers held traditional games for party-goers, including one similar to musical chairs.
Some revelers took turns “hitting the cat out of the barrel” — a traditional piñata-type game. The one who knocks out the bottom of the barrel is crowned “queen of cats” and the person that finishes off the barrel is declared “king of cats.”
No cats were harmed during the party, officials said.
The Scandinavian East Coast Museum and Brooklyn Lodge Sons of Norway sponsored the event.