British Traditions

  • Ripon Hornblower Tradition
    Ripon Hornblower
    Meet the Ripon Hornblower and get to know the almost unbelievable story of the longest ongoing tradition in the world. Venture to this nightly ceremony and learn how the Hornblower carries out his duties to support the Mayor of the day and how he helps to safeguard the continuity of the ancient ceremony of 'Setting the Watch'.
  • Bun Throwing Tradition
    Bun Throwing
    Bun throwing first began when rich people started giving bread to the poor which then moved on to the rich giving cakes to the poor on special occasions. The town of Abingdon took up that tradition in 1760.
  • Hurling the Silver Bowl Tradition
    Hurling the Silver Bowl
    This old form of rugby dating back over a thousand years takes place at St Ives on Shrove Tuesday. A cricket-sized ball made of apple wood and coated in silver is hurled into the air and players try their best to get the ball of each other. 
  • Weighing the Mayor Tradition
    Mayor Making
    This 17th-century custom of weighing the mayor takes places in the market town of High Wycombe in the third week of May every year. The mayor has to sit on specially-made erected brass scales in view of the public and have his or her weight recorded and then it is compared to the weight of the previous year.
  • Jack in the Green Tradition
    Jack in the Green Festival
    During the 16th and 17th centuries, flower garlands were a popular form of headwear and individuals tried to outdo each other with their garland designs. By the late 18th century, chimney sweeps made garlands in frameworks that covered their whole bodies.
  • Pixie Day Tradition
    Pixie Day
    On the Saturday nearest to Midsummer’s Day residents of Ottery, St. Mary commemorate the day pixies were banished from their town. Locals says that the pixies hated the sound of bells ringing so when the town first hung a bell in St Mary’s Church in Ottery and rang it in 1454, the pixies were forced to move away...
  • Our Traditions - World Hen Racing
    World Hen Racing
    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.
  • Wife Carrying Tradition
    Wife Carrying
    It is believed that wife carrying originated on the northeast coast of England over twelve centuries ago when Viking raiders stormed villages and carried away women who were unwilling to leave their homes. 
  • Maypole Tradition
    Maypole Dancing
    The custom of Maypole dancing used to be a medieval Pagan dance for fertility. In days gone by, only young girls danced around the maypole, but nowadays both boys and girls, men and women, take part in the dance.