…do NOT do as the Danish do.
I was visiting my sister for the weekend with the intention of attending this massive festival in Denmark. The theme was Fairytale, so I bought a pink wig for 5 euros, attempted to tie dye a dress, spent way too much of my time making a flower crown, then called it a day. I don’t think even half that amount of effort was needed.
I arrived two days before the festival was going to take place. My sister and her roommate had this really adorable costume idea. They were going to be dragon eggs! I was jealous and felt lame in comparison, but honestly hadn’t had the time or money to invest in something creative. The plan was fairly simple: head over to a friend’s apartment close to the parade, drink a little, then join the festivities.
On the walk to the friend’s place, we got a little taste of what awaited us. We passed crowds all decked out in different costumes, most were silly, some were creative and then there was the occasional black-face. I am not sure why this is still acceptable in Europe. Yes, they don’t have the same history with slavery and segregation as the US, but they still had slavery, segregation and were responsible for colonization.
The gathering at the apartment was chill, people were still getting ready and the anticipation was high.
Things quickly disintegrated. We left the apartment, our baby carriage jam packed full of alcohol in tow (yes, people use their children’s pram to transport liquor, or if they don’t have any kids buy one especially for this occasion). This should have been a red flag.
We wandered down a pretty abandoned street, then as we rounded the corner onto the main road I was confronted with a scene of mass pandemonium. The street was packed with very intoxicated people, in the street, on the sidewalk, barely hanging onto crudely made floats, stumbling in the wrong direction and, of course, dancing to American rap music.
As we got further enmeshed in the parade, I saw maybe the strangest of Danish traditions — peeing in public. There were people on all sides of me either peeing against the sides of apartment building (if male) or just squatting on the sidewalk (if female), in FULL view of EVERYONE!
I admit that I am a prude American (a term I didn’t realize was actually true until I entered a European dressing room for the first time), so this was way out of my comfort zone. The whole scene turned into a horror movie as it dawned on me that the small rivers of water flowing in the street was not beer, as I had initial thought.
I was way too sober for this festival, but I wasn’t about to start drinking only to then be forced to use the sidewalk as a bathroom.