7 quirky rural traditions
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7 quirky rural traditions

UK Rural

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7 quirky rural traditions

Quirky UK Rural Traditions

Despite only consisting of four countries, the United Kingdom certainly has an array of cultures and traditions. For example, Brummies aren't the same as Bristolians, while Geordies differ from Glaswegians. Across the British Isles, there are 69 cities, so it isn't a surprise that traditions vary, but some are definitely more outlandish than others.

Here, with off grid gas suppliers Flogas, we take a look at a range of the quirkiest traditions that exist within Great Britain and Northern Ireland, looking at their length of existence and their backstory.

Fenwick's Window

In 1971, Fenwick's, an upmarket department store, decided to display an annual festive spectacle for North East shoppers. The windows which line Northumberland Street in Newcastle Upon Tyne are adored by people of all ages, and the crowds arrive hours ahead of the big reveal day. In the past inspiration has been taken from children's books such as Beatrix Potter and Peter Pan, and each and every year proves to be more outstanding than the previous year. While many people associate Geordie's and Christmas time with night's spent reveling in sub-zero temperatures (without a coat!), fairytale window claims top spot in the North-East as a tradition.

Kirkwall Ba

Further north, Orkney's capital, Kirkwall, has seen 'Ba', play particular importance in the festive calendar since 1650. Described as more like a civil war than a game of football, the town, on Christmas Eve and Hogmanay, is divided in to two teams, the 'Uppies' and 'Doonies'. The two squads, in the past, placed in their respective teams, thanks to where they were born in relation to the town's Cathedral.

A leather ball that has been stuffed with cork heads through the town's alleyways and back streets while opposing sides compete to get it in the net. There are referees who control the general flow of the game and ensure anyone who lands on the ground is picked up again however, the game is effective without rules. There also exists a boy's game and despite the fact the upper age limit is 15 years old, there is no restriction on how young the boy can be. If you choose to make the trip up to the tip of Scotland, this age-old tradition is certainly worth your time —watch on as whole town battles it out or look into joining the 'Uppies' or 'Doonies' yourself.

Haggis Hurling

Staying in Scotland, Haggis itself is specific to Caledonia. However, eating the sheep's pluck delicacy is quite a commonly known tradition. Each year on the 25th January, or Burns Night as it is more commonly known, Scots tuck into haggis, neaps, and tatties as part of their celebration supper. However, a lesser-known tradition about the nation is their annual participation in 'Haggis Hurling'. The tale suggests that in the 17th century when men were working in the fields during the day, their wives would cook them a haggis for their lunch and throw it across the river. The man would then use the front of his kilt, which is synonymous for not encasing underwear below, as a cushion to soften the blow of the meat and to prevent it from landing on the ground.

In current times, 'Haggis Hurling' has established itself as a professional sport and judges score the competition depending on how far the delicacy has traveled and whether it can still be eaten afterward.

Balmoral Show

In a country which is steeped in agricultural history, it shouldn't be a surprise that one of Northern Ireland's largest annual events is an agri-food show. Starting in 1894, the Balmoral Show has, in recent years, relocated to the site of the Old Maze Prison camp. With more than 115,000 annual visitors, the show includes showjumping competitions, sheep shearing time trials, and a best in show category for livestock and equine. The three-day festival, which offers something for everyone, epitomizes Northern Irish culture.

The Padstow Obby Oss

May Day in Cornwall is celebrated in a rather different fashion when compared to the rest of the UK. The Obby Oss, as it is affectionately known, traces back further than the 1820s, with historians believing it holds links to the Celtic festival of Beltane. The carnival in Rio De Janeiro would face stiff competition from the small Cornish town, where locals spend the evening of the 30th April decorating the streets with flags and flowers, before two "osses", one blue and one red, make their way through the streets, cheered on by onlookers joining in with the celebrations.

The Welsh Lovespoon

Nowadays, if we are to show affection, we will perhaps send a bunch of flowers, buy a box of chocolates, or even send a gif on messenger. However, in Wales, if you're trying to win the heart of the apple of your eye, a spoon, despite the fact it may seem unconventional, ranks higher than a teddy bear holding a love heart. Okay, so it isn't just your standard teaspoon, but it is a spoon nonetheless. The piece of cutlery will usually feature a symbol, which translates into a meaning, such as an anchor for safety and a dragon for protection.

Available in most of the country's gift shops, why don't you pick up a spoon on your next Welsh holiday to take home to your love interest? You might just find yourself in the good books for a considerably long time!

Peter Pan Cup

James Matthew Barrie donated the Peter Pan Cup to competitors of the Christmas day swim through Hyde Park following the debuted of his play on the London stage in 1904. Open only to the experienced members of the Serpentine Swimming Club who have qualified throughout the season to guarantee a place in the event, the competition pits swimmers against one another in a 100-yard race in what can often be four degrees glasses of water.

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