10 Strangest Traditional Festivals & Events in The UK Today
|Top 10 Strangest Traditional Events in The UK|
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Despite modern life, there are still hundreds of very strange traditional festivals taking place across the UK today. These strange traditional festivals have always had a strange charm not only for the British but also for foreign visitors.
The UK is brimming with world-renowned festivals that attract hundreds of thousands of music fans a year. These quirky events promise to fill future adventures with plenty of laughs and entertainment, and often can’t be found anywhere else.
Whether you fancy watching more than 200 snails slug it out at the World Snail Racing Championships
, or want to take aim at the World Hen Racing Championship, these are the eccentric festivals that can add an extra dimension to your future trip to Britain.
♦The Most Unusual Festivals and Events in the UK:
Top 10 Strangest and Popular Traditional Festivals in The UK
1. Cheese Rolling
While the annual cheese-rolling down Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire can’t beat the spectacular flaming tar barrels event for pure jaw-dropping theatrical drama it nevertheless easily earns a place in the hazardous category.
As you are no doubt one of the majority who might struggle to put cheese and danger in the same sentence this ages-old tradition perhaps needs some explaining. Cheese-rolling involves chasing down a hill after a big round of cheese and trying to catch it before it reaches the bottom. The hill part is what adds the peril to the picture; Cooper’s Hill is so steep that in parts it is less hill and more cliff.
In reality, the race is less about catching the Double Gloucester cheese than trying to prevent a spectacular series of human flight phases. These inevitably end once gravity kicks in with multiple and bone-crunching encounters with solid ground, each bounce accompanied by a chorus of sympathetic oohs and aaahs from spectators.
Injuries are a normal part of it all and even watching the event comes with an element of risk. An 8lb heft of cheese traveling at anything up to 70mph becomes a perilous missile if it ricochets off course.
21st-century kill joys have tried to ban the event but so far the hardcore ‘cheesers’ have always come out victorious and so preserved a tradition of many centuries standing. Ironically, the more publicity the event receives because of the injuries, the more would-be cheese-chasers arrive from various corners of the planet to try their luck.
2. The World Hen Racing Championship
This family-friendly World Hen Racing Championship event takes place every year in the car park at the 200-year-old Barley Mow pub in Bonsall. Participants can either bring their own hen or rent one for a small donation of £5.00. The hens have to race a 30-foot course with the help of their owners who entice the clucking hens with mealworms, corn, and lots of encouragement. It is all in good humor and the hens are well looked after even if they head back to the start line. The fastest time for a hen to complete the course was three seconds but it usually takes much longer than that. The winning hen receives a bag of grain and the owner a trophy.
The event takes place on the first Saturday in August every year and is a welcome departure from the sanitized arenas of the Olympics. And things just get better and better because this year you can also camp at the pub meaning that if you become ‘fully refreshed’ whilst watching the activities, it’s just a couple of steps back to your tent.
3. Egg Throwing World Championships
Legend has it that the tradition of egg throwing in the English village of Swaton dates back to the 14th century. In an attempt to boost numbers at church, the abbot gave out free eggs to all who attended. In 1322, the river flooded and prevented locals from attending church. So monks threw eggs across the river, and the tradition was born.
The first Egg Throwing World Championship took place as a feature of the 2005 Swaton Vintage Day where the grand prize was scooped up by an “eggstatic” team from New Zealand. Teams of two compete for the prize by seeing who can pass the egg farthest without breaking it.
Additional events include the “Russian egg roulette” in which competitors take turns smashing eggs against their own heads. Of the six eggs available, five are hard-boiled and one is raw. The competitor who picks the raw egg loses and ends up with an actual egg on his face.
4. World Snail Racing Championships
Ready, steady, slow! Around 200 snails compete in the World Snail Racing Championships that are part of the Congham Fete, near King’s Lynn, in Norfolk. The region is an ideal breeding ground for snails and has hosted snail racing every year in July for more than 25 years.
Entrants creep over a 13-inch course in the fastest time possible, with a Snail Trainer to the World Championships watching over proceedings to ensure fair play all round. Find yourself a snail to participate, or just watch on as the mollusks slide off in search of glory.