Store Bededag

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Store bededag
Also calledGreat Prayer Day
Observed byFaroe Islands, Greenland; formerly: Norway, Iceland, mainland Denmark
Date4th Friday after Easter
2023 date5 May
2024 date26 April
2025 date16 May
2026 date1 May

Store bededag, translated literally as Great Prayer Day or more loosely as General Prayer Day, "All Prayers" Day, Great Day of Prayers or Common Prayer Day, is a holiday on the 4th Friday after Easter. It is currently observed in the Faroe Islands, where it is called dýri biðidagur, and in Greenland (Greenlandic: tussiarfissuaq).


Bishop of Zealand (1675-1693) Hans Bagger who played an important role in creating the holiday.
The royal regulation from 1686 (Bededagsforordningen)

Store bededag is a collection of minor Christian holy days consolidated into one day. The day was introduced in the Church of Denmark in 1686 by King Christian V as a consolidation of several minor (or local) Roman Catholic holidays that had survived the Reformation of the national church. Store bededag was a statutory holiday in Denmark. It was one of the few holidays that survived in the great holiday reform carried out in 1771 during the reign of Christian VII, when his Prime Minister, Count Johann Friedrich von Struensee, was in power. The day was introduced as a more efficient alternative to individually celebrating a number of holidays honoring various minor saints in the Spring. However, it was not Struensee who came up with the idea of this particular reform, as the church commission which had worked on it had been instituted several years before Struensee arrived at the Danish court.

Traditionally, bells in every church announce the eve of store bededag.

Danish varme hveder served with butter.

There are very few traditions associated with store bededag. Formerly, citizens and students of Copenhagen strolled the city ramparts on the evening before the holiday; the students of Copenhagen University did this to honour the many students who had died defending Copenhagen during the assault on Copenhagen. In the evening before the holiday, it was customary to buy and eat varme hveder, a traditional bread, because bakers were closed on holidays and people bought bread for the following day.

Today, the city ramparts are gone and instead the tradition is to walk along Langelinie on Copenhagen's waterfront or on the fortification of Kastellet, though only few follow this tradition depending on the spring weather. It is more common, also outside Copenhagen, to still buy and eat varme hveder.

This and Kristi himmelfartsdag (Ascension Thursday) are the only two days, other than Saturdays and Sundays, on which confirmations take place, for confirmation is part of regular church services.

The earliest possible day is 17 April (if Easter falls on 22 March), the latest possible day is 21 May (if Easter falls on 25 April).

Danish abolishment in 2023[edit]

People protesting against the proposal to abolish the holiday[1]

On 14 December 2022, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen proposed abolishing the holiday in 2024 as a means of increasing Denmark's defence spending.[2] The government estimated that cancelling the holiday would provide an extra three billion Danish kroner to be used toward's Denmark's defence budget.[3] The proposal did not include removing the holiday from the Faroes and Greenland. This proposal was received negatively by the opposition parties, trade unions, the national church, and the general public, with a petition to keep the holiday receiving more than 477,000 signatures as of 28 February.[4][5] In early February 2023, ahead of the government's vote on the matter, around 50,000 protesters gathered outside the Danish Parliament to protest the proposal.

On 28 February 2023, the Danish Parliament voted 95-68 to abolish Store Bededag, effective from 2024.[6][3] Store Bededag was celebrated in Denmark as a public holiday for the last time on the 5th of May, 2023.


  1. ^ "Stor demonstration mod afskaffelsen af store bededag: »De skal holde fingrene væk«". 5 February 2023.
  2. ^ Nielsen, Jasmina (2022-12-28). "Denmark May End Great Prayer Day Holiday as It Seeks to Bolster Military". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2022-12-31. Retrieved 2022-12-31.
  3. ^ a b "Denmark scraps public holiday to boost defence budget". 2023-02-28. Retrieved 2024-03-14.
  4. ^ Dougall, David Mac (21 January 2023). "Livin' on a prayer: Denmark turns to God to save public holiday". euronews. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  5. ^ "Bevar Store Bededag". Bevar Store Bededag (in Danish). Retrieved 28 February 2023.
  6. ^ "Store bededag afskaffet efter timelang debat". DR (in Danish). 28 February 2023. Retrieved 28 February 2023.


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