10 Famous Strange British Traditions


Britain has a long and varied past – it has been conquered repeatedly, it has conquered others, and it has colonized half the planet. This list looks at ten of the most famous unusual British traditions.

The Egremont Crab Fair –  gets its name from crab apples rather than the marine variety. It started back in the 13th century when the Lord of the Manor gave away crab apples to the populace. Tto this day, the Parade of the Apple Cart, where apples are thrown into the crowds on the Main Street, is part of the fair.
Gurning, involves a rubber-faced skill that is totally bizarre and unique to this part of England. Contestants put their heads through horse collar or braffin while they create the ugliest, most grotesque faces they can manage. Celebrities occasionally have a go and the national news usually features the winning gurners. If you are in Cumbria visiting the Lake District, nearby, in September, stop in at the Egremont Crab Fair. You won’t see anything like this anywhere else.

Maypole Dancing
Maypole Dancing England
Maypole dancing is a form of folk dance from western Europe, especially England, Sweden, Galicia, Germany and Portugal, with two distinctive traditions. In the most widespread, dancers perform circle dances around a tall pole which is decorated with garlands, painted stripes, flowers and other emblems. In the second form, dancers dance in a circle each holding a colored ribbon attached to a much smaller pole; the ribbons are intertwined and plaited either on to the pole itself or into a web around the pole.

Guy Fawkes Night
Guy Fawkes Night
Guy Fawkes Night , held on 5 November in the United Kingdom and some parts of the Commonwealth, is a commemoration of the plot, during which an effigy of Fawkes is burned, often accompanied by a fireworks. The word “guy”, meaning “person”, is derived from his name. Guy Fawkes (1570 – 1606), belonged to a group of Catholic Restorationists from England who planned the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Their aim was to displace Protestant rule by blowing up the Houses of Parliament while King James I and the entire Protestant, and even most of the Catholic, aristocracy and nobility were inside.
The Gunpowder Plot was led by Robert Catesby, but Fawkes was put in charge of its execution. He was arrested a few hours before the planned explosion, during a search of the cellars underneath Parliament in the early hours of November prompted by the receipt of an anonymous warning letter. Basically it’s a celebration of the failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

Ascot Ladies Day
Ascot Ladies Day
Ascot Racecourse is a famous English racecourse, located in the small town of Ascot, Berkshire, used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is one of the leading racecourses in the United Kingdom, hosting 9 of the UK’s 32 annual Group 1 races, the same number as Newmarket.Ascot today stages twenty-five days of racing over the course of the year, comprising sixteen Flat meetings held in the months of May and October. The most prestigious race is the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes run over the course in July. What makes this so special is that every year the fashion, specifically the hats get bigger, bolder and damn right weirder as the photo illustrates.

Straw Bear
Straw Bear British Tradition
Straw Bear Day is an old English tradition held on the 7th of January. It is known in a small area of Fenland on the borders of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire, including Ramsey Mereside. This day is believed to be the start of agricultural year in England. A man wears a straw costume covering him from his head to toes. He goes from house to house where he dances and gets prizes in return.

Pearly King and Queen
Pearly King and Queen England
Pearly Kings and Queens, known as pearlies, are an organized charitable tradition of working class culture in London, England. The practice of wearing clothes decorated with pearl buttons originated in the 19th century. In 1911 an organized pearly society was formed in Finchley, north London.

Morris Dancing
Morris Dancing Picture
A Morris dance is a form of English folk dance. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, and handkerchiefs may also be wielded by the dancers.

Bog Snorkeling
Bog Snorkeling
If any of you ever doubted that Brits are mad, this should make up your minds for you. Basically participants dive into a bog, wearing goggles, a pair of flippers and a snorkel, then they proceed to race each other along a 120ft trench filled with mud. Held every year the participants come from all over the world and raise lots of money for charity.

Worm Charming
Worm Charming Britian
Worm charming is a way of attracting earthworms from the ground. Many do it to collect bait for fishing. But there are also those who do it as sort of sport or fun. The village of Willaston, near Nantwich, Cheshire is the place where since 1980 the annual World Championships have been organized. The competition was actually initiated by local man Tom Shufflebotham who on the 5th of July, 1980 charmed 511 worms from the ground in only half an hour. Each competitor have to competes in the 3 x 3 meters area. Music of any kind can be used to charm worms out of the ground.

Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill
Cheese Rolling Coopers Hill
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event held on the Spring Bank Holiday at Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester in the Cotswolds region of England. It is traditionally by and for the people of Brockworth – the local village, but now people from all over the world take part. Due to the steepness and uneven surface of the hill there are usually a number of injuries, ranging from sprained ankles to broken bones and concussion. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling has been summarized as “twenty young men chase a cheese off a cliff and tumble 200 yards to the bottom, where they are scraped up by paramedics and packed off to hospital”.

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