General Prayer Day in Denmark Date in the current year: April 26, 2024

General Prayer Day in Denmark General Prayer Day (Store bededag) is a public holiday in Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands celebrated on the fourth Friday after Easter. The date always falls between April 17 and May 21 inclusive.

General Prayer Day, also referred to as Great Prayer Day (literal translation from Danish), is a collection of minor or local Christian holy days consolidated into one day. King Christian V of Denmark introduced the holiday into the Church of Denmark in 1686. It was considered a more efficient alternative to individually celebrating several Roman Catholic holidays that had survived the Protestant Reformation.

During the reign of King Christian VII of Denmark, his Prime Minister, Johann Friedrich von Struensee, initiated the great holiday reform that was carried out in 1771. General Prayer Day was one of the few holidays that survived in the reform.

The eve of Great Prayer Day is announced by bells in churches throughout Denmark. Originally this day was indeed dedicated to prayer and fasting, but now it is yet another non-working day. In some areas, people buy and eat a traditional bread, varme hveder, on the eve of the holiday. This tradition emerged because bakeries were closed on the day and people had to buy bread beforehand.

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