Each week on World Music (Saturday nights from 8-10 on KSTX 89.1 FM), I take a look at festivals happening around the world along with the music of the cultures they represent. This week, we’ll catch the Big Fish in Nigeria, and look stateside for a festival that has kept one man on ice for over 20 years.
FROZEN DEAD GUY DAYS
There are wild and wacky festivals around the world and we have them in America as well. One of the odder events takes place in Nederland, Colorado this coming week. Coffin racing is the main attraction at The Frozen Dead Guy Days, starting March 8th. The origins of the festival are equally bizarre. In 1989, the Norwegian citizen Bredo Morstoel died. His body, packed in dry ice, was shipped to California and cryogenically frozen. Some years later, he was transported, in his frozen state to Nederland, Colorado to live--so to speak--with his daughter and grandson.
Because of his particular condition, living in the home was not an option. So he was placed in a shed out back, in an ice packed sarcophagus. Sadly for Granda Bredo, as he’s now referred to, his grandson had overstayed his welcome in this country and was returned to Scandinavia. His daughter later evicted from their house, as it was considered uninhabitable, with no electricity or plumbing. Frantic about the fate of father, she told her story to a local reporter, and now Grandpa Bredo continues to live in splendid isolation in his frozen state, tended to by his very own caretaker. Every year, he’s visited by thousands of well wishers, who celebrate ‘The Frozen Dead Guy.’ Because of his presence in Colorado, a law was created stating that it is illegal to store a frozen human or animal in any part of your home. Fortunately it doesn’t apply to Grandpa Bredo, whose state was ‘grandfathered’ in.
CATCHING THE BIG FISH IN NIGERIA
If you thought fishing was a tranquil, maybe even soporific pastime, think again! The Argungu Fishing Festival in Nigeria will have the adrenaline flowing. This yearly event is attended by over 30,000 local fishermen, all vying to catch ‘the big fish.’ They have one hour from the starting pistol to bag the big one. Considering the mass of legs, the tangle of nets and the completely opaque water, it’s amazing anyone catches anything at all. At one point this was a gender neutral competition, but with the introduction of Sharia law, only men can take part, both as competitors on the water and as spectators. The winning fish can weigh over 165 pounds and the winner takes home approximately $7,500.
You can hear more about this and other celebrations happening around the world this and every Saturday on World Music with Deirdre Saravia, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM.