Monday, 26 January 2015

11 of the best unusual events in the West Country

Every year across the world, people celebrate some interesting traditions in very unique ways and nowhere does it better than the West Country. Read on for an intriguing glimpse into the most unusual festivals in our corner of Britain…

Lentsherd in Clovelly
Every year on Shrove Tuesday, the village of Clovelly marks Lentsherd (pictured above). On this day, locals honour the age-old custom of ridding the village of all the negatives of the previous year. When dusk falls, children gather to walk from the town centre down to the harbour, each dragging a tin can attached to a long string. These cans are then thrown into the sea, driving the devil away just in time for Lent to begin. Every child who takes part receives a free pancake decorated with sweet toppings and entry is free after 4.30pm.

St Ives Silver Ball
Over in Cornwall, one of the best-loved local traditions comes in the form of the ‘hurling of the silver ball.’ Celebrated on the 9th February, this tradition is part of the St Ives Feast - a festival that begins with the mayor’s civic procession and blessing in honour of the anniversary of the consecration of the Parish Church of St Eia. The ‘hurling’ event consists of two teams playing a very lively game of old-style rugby to gain possession of the cricket-sized silver ball. The game takes place across the town and the ball has even ended up in the sea on occasion but the ultimate goal is to return the ball to the mayor at midday in front of St Ives Guildhall.

’Obby ‘Oss day
The ‘Obby ‘Oss (Hobby Horse) day is hugely important to the local people in Padstow and Minehead, as it makes up the traditional Mayday celebrations. Dressed in traditional white garb, the crowds cheer on the two ‘obby ‘oss mascots, decked out in colourful masks and costumes. The parades travel through the flower-strewn streets all the way to the maypole, with revellers accompanied by the beat of the drums and the sound of the maysong, and horses escorted by a ‘teaser’ who leads the song and dance in an excitable fashion.

Knob Throwing in Dorset
If you fancy doing something a bit different this year, head on over to Cattistock, Dorset on 3rd May to take part in the annual Knob Throwing event. The “knob” is actually a traditional local biscuit shaped like a sphere, which has been baked in the village since 1880. Participants must (underarm) throw the knob as far as they can – winners receive their biscuit and their name on a plaque in the village hall. The unique event also includes such activities as Knob Darts and Guess The Weight of the Big Knob.

St Piran’s Day
St Piran’s Day honours Cornwall’s patron saint and is such a popular event that locals are campaigning to make it a bank holiday. Legend has it that Piran landed on the shores at Perranporth after being cast to sea by the Irish King, who believed him to be suspicious due to his magical powers. It was here that he built a chapel in the sand dunes and people came to hear him preach. Today St Piran’s Day is celebrated by hundreds of people who make a pilgrimage to Perranporth to watch a re-enactment of his story on the sand dunes.

We’ll post the remaining 6 events next week!