Some Belgians drink fish like, well, fish
February 24, 1997
Web posted at: 11:45 p.m. EST (0445 GMT)
GERAARDSBERGEN, Belgium (CNN) -- A rite of spring involving a
Druid, a goblet, some wine and live fish has raised the ire of some animal rights activists.
This little town spent Sunday celebrating its Krakelingen festival, which local historians say was started as early as 500 B.C. as a pagan celebration of life.
928K/ 23 sec. QuickTime movie
It all goes according to tradition. The festivities begins with street processions and the re-enactment of medieval scenes depicting the history of the town.
So far so good.
After a costume pageant, the man dressed up as a Druid pours the wine into the goblet, adds a fish or two and presents the laced drink to the mayor and local dignitaries. They are expected to swallow the concoction.
That's where the problem starts.
Animal rights supporters say the ritual is barbaric, and held a small protest. They also planned to file charges against those involved in the ceremony under Belgium's animal welfare law.
The participants had enough to worry about as it was. Some seemed to find the wriggling drink hard to swallow.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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