On the 21st of August at 10 AM the Denmark Pavilion kicked off a three days long celebration of the birthday of the Little Mermaid. She was placed by Copenhagen harbour on 23 August 1913, donated by patron of the arts, brewer Carl Jacobsen of Carlsberg. The Denmark Pavilion threw a great party for the Little Mermaid as she turned 97 on August 23.
The festivities culminated with a great splash on Monday when the pavilion will feature a thrilling water show. The Denmark Pavilion have invited three Danish synchronized swimmers headed by Mette Markussen, and dancer/choreograph Tore Munch to do a performance about Mermaids, love and fairytales, in the harbour pool at the centre of the pavilion. Furthermore, a special limited edition Mermaid Stamp for EXPO passports will be launched and offered to visitors only on the day of the birthday.
Christopher Bo Bramsen, Commissioner General of the Denmark Pavilion said:
“We give the Little Mermaid a big party on her first birthday away from home. She deserves a break after she has been working hard at EXPO 2010, so far attracting more than 3 million visitors to our pavilion to experience how we Danes aim at creating ‘Better City, Better Life’ by using more bikes than cars, having clean water in our harbours and enjoying a healthy urban lifestyle. Furthermore, this is a great opportunity to celebrate the Little Mermaid’s presence in China and give our visitors the chance to have fun experiencing some of the best of Danish culture.”
Her birthday started with a ceremony by the harbour pool in the Denmark Pavilion. After four young boys from the world-famous Danish Tivoli Boys Guard marched in, playing on their drums and flutes.
A 4-year-old girl named Zhang Ke Ying was invited to join Mr. Bramsen. Zhang Ke Ying’s father had written to the Denmark Pavilion in advance, explaining that his little daughter shared the same birthday as the Little Mermaid and that she was a great fan of the fairytale of the Little Mermaid. Zhang Ke Ying was given the very first stamp in her EXPO passport of a limited edition mermaid stamp, only in use on day of the birthday.
Colourful flowers, to be placed on the lap of the Little Mermaid, were presented and then a water show started in the harbour pool. The show was about a blue troll who fell madly in love with the Little Mermaid but was very scared of the water. He finally overcome his fear and jumped into the water where he meets three synchronized swimmers resembling graceful mermaids.
Visitors to the Denmark Pavilion could enjoy a range of other fun activities. Among those were the Danish Theatre Madam Bach who specializes in interactive plays for children, and a paper cutting workshop taught by Lu Xue from China and Søren Thaae from Denmark. They are both masters of the art, which was one of Hans Christian Andersen’s favorites.
There were also reading aloud session of Hans Christian Andersen fairytales, a drawing area resembling a green and peaceful Danish park, a workshop by the toy brand LEGO, a fun and educational Danish school, where children could learn basic Danish phrases and facts about Denmark and a mermaid stone where they could pose for photos as a real mermaid.
Competitions and prizes were part of the fun of the day.
Press pictures can be downloaded here