Great Prayer Day

Great Prayer Day Quick Facts - DK

AKA NameGeneral Prayer Day, All Prayers Day, Great Day of Prayers or Common Prayer Day, Store Bededag (Denmark), Dýri biðidagur (Faroe Islands), Store Bededag
HashtagsCompiled on#NationalDayOfPrayer, #RevivedToThrive
2025 Date16 May 2025
2026 Date1 May 2026

Great Prayer Day (DNK)

Great Prayer Day (DNK) in

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Great Prayer Day History

Great Prayer Day, is reserved for introspection, spiritual reflection, and prayer. The day aims to consolidate all minor holy days that would disrupt work throughout the year into one important day of focused religious observance. It also acts as a break, signaling a shift from Winter's end to the welcoming of Spring.

The tradition of Great Prayer Day originated in the 18th Century under the rule of Bishop Hans Bagger of Zealand. Attempting to streamline an array of regional holy days scattered throughout the year, Bishop Bagger amalgamated them into one single day in 1686. This resulted in a day of significant importance, both religiously and culturally, to the Danish people.

The celebration of Great Prayer Day unfolds in several ways across Denmark. Church services are held that include communal prayers, hymn singing, and a sermon from the priest. However, the day is not just a religious event, it has also evolved into a public holiday where Danish communities engage in a range of leisure activities and enjoy traditional treats. Also, symbolizing the shift in seasons, many Danish people take this day to stroll the ramparts of Copenhagen. This special day is most commonly observed on the 4th Friday after Easter, with the exact date varying each year according to the ecclesiastical calendar.

Top facts about Great Prayer Day

  • The Second Northern War was fought between 1655 and 1660. Denmark-Norway, as it was then known, was allied with Poland, the Habsburg Monarchy, Russia, the Dutch Republic and Prussia, although they sometimes fought Prussia too.
  • The original name for Great Prayer Day was actually Extraordinary General Prayer Day.
  • The Great Prayer Day is a merge of several minor Roman Catholic holidays into one single day, which happened during the Protestant Reformation that swept Europe in the 16th Century.
  • In Copenhagen, a tradition is associated with the Great Prayer Day where people dress up and take a stroll along the city’s ramparts, which is known as the "Citadel" or "Kastellet". This tradition dates back to the 18th century when it became fashionable for the city's bourgeoisie to showcase their wealth at this event.

Great Prayer Day Top Things to Do

  • Take a walk around the streets and ramparts of Copenhagen (or just where you are). Students do this in Copenhagen to commemorate the deaths of their historical peers in the Second Northern War.
  • Get confirmed. Great Prayer day is one of the most popular days of the year for church confirmations. If it doesn't fall in line with your beliefs, do something relating to your own beliefs to mark the day.
  • A canal tour is a wonderful way to explore Copenhagen, as you can marvel at the city's beautiful castles, houses, churches, and boats from a different perspective.
  • As the holiday often marks the onset of spring, it can be a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Denmark through hiking or biking on serene trails.

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