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Frozen Dead Guy Days involves an actual frozen dead guy

We don’t really have to do too much explaining about what this festival is about – it’s exactly what it says on the tin: A whole celebration around a frozen dead guy.

Specifically, the dead guy is Grandpa Bredo Morstoel, an accomplished Norwegian gentleman who, upon his death from a heart condition in 1989, was put on ice and sent to California, for reasons that are way too complicated to explain.

He was passed around from family member to family member before ending up in Nederland, Colorado, where he is now the centre of a massive winter festival in March with the most unambiguously descriptive name ever.

And it’s a real festival. There’s polar bear dips, hearse parades and bone-fide coffin races, where colourfully decked-out pallbearers race each other while toting a coffin (occupied by a live team-member) all about the town.

As for Grandpa Bredo – well, there’s someone in Nederland whose specific job it is to keep his body nice and frosty at -51C, with hundreds of kilograms of dry ice.

One wonders what the old boy would think of all this.

A Swiss town celebrates burning an accused witch at the stake with a ski contest

One fine day in the 1800s, the residents of a small Swiss town accused a woman of murdering her husband using hilariously ridiculous evidence, and had her burned at the stake as a witch.

Today, this gross and barbaric act is commemorated with solemnity and respect. By which we mean, people in the alpine town of Belalp spend a few days in January  skiing downhill dressed up like cartoon witches, complete with pointy hats and fake warty noses.

Since the 1980s, the festival of Belalp Hexe has grown and grown, to the point where it’s one of the biggest amateur ski events in the world.

The premise may be silly, but the challenge isn’t. Around 1,500 people brave the slopes on a grueling 12 km tear down the slopes, in what we can only call splendid style.

Afterward, there’s live music and festivities, in case having the opportunity to blaze a few trails dressed up like a Wizard of Oz character wasn’t enough to make the trip worthwhile.

The Aztecs honour their national god by eating him, then sacrificing a bunch of people

Count on the Aztecs to take a perfectly normal December and make it completely terrifying.

The Aztec calendar is actually quite complicated, but the festival of Panquetzaliztli, in honor of the main god Huitzilopochtli, seems to have involved December, and even have included the winter solstice on Dec 21.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The Aztecs apparently celebrated the head honcho of their pantheon by holding foot races, raising banners – and baking an effigy of Huitzilopochtli and ceremonially eating it.

Also, human sacrifice, and lots of it. Aztec warfare revolved around taking captives and sacrificing them later. Huitzilopochtli, being the main diety, was really big on the sacrificial part, so when his festival rolled around, there were usually lots of warrior captives on hand.

This source says the captives were even made to dance for their captors before the big show down at the community pyramid. 

We’ll file this festival under “thank gods we don’t do this anymore.”

NEXT PAGE: Celebrating December 21 by jumping off a 100-foot pole

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