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   xoxoxoBruce  Monday Mar 3 11:00 PM

March 3, 2008: Drinking Fish

Not drinking like a fish, drinking fish.... live fish.

Photo by Jock Fistick for the International Herald Tribune
From Belgium

Van Acker, the senior Roman Catholic priest in this rural area of Flanders, is undertaking one of his more unusual pastoral duties: drinking live fish, washed down with red wine.

For centuries, thousands of revelers in this part of Belgium have celebrated the Krakelingen festival - named after the bread that will be thrown to the townspeople. The pageant, commemorating the onset of spring, combines pagan and Christian symbols and culminates in the consumption of tiny live fish immersed in red wine at a ceremony presided over by three men dressed as druids.

The ritual has aroused the fury of animal rights campaigners, who claim it is cruel and anachronistic and have succeeded in limiting the number of people who can down the fish to around two dozen a year. But so far, they have failed to get the practice banned altogether or to force the revelers to electrocute the fish before they are removed from their tanks.

Divisions between French speakers in the south and Flemish speakers in the north are eroding Belgium's national identity, even raising the prospect of the breakup of this fragile nation of 10 million people. Perhaps as a consequence, Belgian municipalities and regions cling ever harder to customs that set them apart from their neighbors.
I respect tradition, but I think I'd find a better tasting one.

LabRat  Tuesday Mar 4 10:35 AM

So, this is what Santa does in the off season...

Cloud  Tuesday Mar 4 11:14 AM

the interesting thing about this story to me is not the gross out factor, but that they've managed to retain this one little strange custom. If a true remnant of earlier paganism, that's quite an accomplishment in the face of the Christian church. And further, that they are still clinging to it stubbornly, even in light of its obvious absurdity.

Trilby  Tuesday Mar 4 12:01 PM

I like the Spanish tomato fight tradition better.

Cloud  Tuesday Mar 4 12:37 PM

or the shitting nativity scene participants

Shawnee123  Tuesday Mar 4 01:50 PM

What I want to know, did dude shave off his eyebrows to make those sideburns?

shina  Tuesday Mar 4 01:56 PM

He won't get voted off the island.

Gravdigr  Tuesday Mar 4 02:36 PM

The crazy, stupid shit that people do in the name of religion hasn't amazed me in quite some time, unfortunately.

spudcon  Tuesday Mar 4 04:49 PM

There used to be a show on the Comedy Channel called The Man Show, with a champion beer guzzler named Fox. I think this is the same guy.

Aliantha  Tuesday Mar 4 05:29 PM

I wonder if they can feel the little fishies swiming around inside them for a while after they swallow them, or do they chew them up before they swallow...

HungLikeJesus  Tuesday Mar 4 06:21 PM

After being soaked in wine, the fish probably don't care what happens next.

BigV  Wednesday Mar 5 05:16 PM

Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
So, this is what Santa does in the off season...
That's not Santa. That's the Winter Warlock!

Trilby  Wednesday Mar 5 05:17 PM

Doesn't the alcohol kill the fish? it is a poison; I don't think their tiny gills like it.

Freshness Dated  Thursday Mar 6 05:37 PM

Figures the pic was taken by Jack Fishstick.

Shawnee123  Thursday Mar 6 06:16 PM

Originally Posted by Freshness Dated View Post
Figures the pic was taken by Jack Fishstick.

HungLikeJesus  Thursday Mar 6 06:57 PM

Jack Fishdick?

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