Cheese, beards, pudding and straw bears…It’s all pure English fun! |GianFranco Belloli|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2017.12.28
  • Cheese, beards, pudding and straw bears…It’s all pure English fun!
Who says that English people have no sense of humour?
Who says that British people don’t know how to have and be fun?
For sure someone who has never lived in this country.
There are in fact in the United Kingdom many fun (and funny) events which show the true jovial and carefree spirit of the Brits.
One of the English traditions that have made me laugh the most when I first found out about it is the Cheese Rolling Competition that takes place in Gloucestershire every year.
This tradition began about 200 years ago, and takes place at Cooper's Hill, which is a hill that is near Gloucester in the Cotswolds of England.
Traditionally the competition was carried out by the inhabitants of the town, but little by little people started coming from different regions and countries to participate in this strange but fun (and dangerous!) competition.
The participants must pull up the hill a big Gloucester cheese wheel and then competitors must run it downhill without losing control of the wheel.
The first participant to cross the finish line wins the race.

Cheese wheel race

Every two years another fun and funky competition is held in England: the British Beard and Moustache Championship.
This is a competition in which the undoubted star is facial hair.
Each contestant is assigned to a category and they are so able to choose if they wish to sport a partial beard, a full beard or a moustache only, and within each category there are different styles participating in the challenge.
People from any part of the world can participate, not only English people, and I heard it’s not only for men!
Since women and children can also participate, if they can grow a moustache, they can participate... and the goal of the event which seems pointless to many (like myself) is to raise funds for a charitable purpose, in addition to having a good time.

Another funky event, the Straw Bear Festival, takes place in Whittlesea, in the Peterborough region every year in the month of January.
It all started in the 1800s when a person from a parade held at the beginning of January to celebrate the new year was dressed in straw and was nicknamed the Straw Bear for the occasion.
The straw bear danced in front of people and people gave him money or food and beer that was then shared and enjoyed by all the parade participants.
According to the story, this tradition was banned at the beginning of the 1900s because it started to be connected with begging but then in the 80s, the straw bear was again included in the celebrations and nowadays the straw bear is the centre of the attention at this parade with its name that is celebrated every year. On the first Saturday in January, a man wearing the straw bear costume participates in the parade, dancing among the people, and on the following day the bear costume is burned to say bye to the old year and ‘make room’ to the new one.
Last but not least, is the Great Christmas Pudding Race which takes place in London every year around Christmas time.
This race has become one of the most fun and emotional events of the holidays and also this event is organized to raise money for charity purposes.
Every participant must be disguised to run and this is already quite funny to watch because people come up with very funny and unique costumes.
The other requirement is, obviously, participants need to run holding a plate with a pudding on it without dropping it up to the finish line.
You have to make groups of six people in order to participate and it’s possible to sign up online.
It has been organised for over 35 years and it has become an English tradition, just like pudding itself!


The Pudding Race

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  • GianFranco Belloli
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I moved to London over 2 years ago but only last year I started writing for a local newsletter for Expats in London telling about my experience in this big city and giving advice to newcomers. London is a very dynamic city and has a lot for everyone but it’s important to have a local point of view to navigate it without getting lost. Let me be your guide to hidden London!

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