Tuesday, 25 January 2022

On festivals and traditions.


There I was, thinking the Spanish were a bit crazy about festivals, all kinds of festivals about food and drink, interspersed with the occasional religious festival involving taking statues around the town and sometimes out to sea in small boats, not to mention festivals with animals. And then I read about the Dorset Knob Throwing festival. It’s normally held in a place called Cattistock alongside the Frome Valley food festival - there you go, a food festival! So it’s not just continental Europe! In 2020 they had to cancel the Knob Throwing festival because they hadn’t got a venue for it (?!). In 2021 they had to cancel because of Covid restrictions. This year they are cancelling because it’s become too popular and too many people have signed up to take part. The organisers can’t cope.

A Dorset Knob is kind of hard biscuit. Participants compete to see who can throw one the furthest. Does this mean the biscuits are too hard to eat? I wonder. The record throw of 29.4 metres (96 ft) was set in 2012. There are other events involved: knob-eating, knob-painting, a knob and spoon race, guess the weight of the big knob, knob darts and a knob pyramid. It sounds like a criss between one of those American pie-eating competitions and a craft fair. The mind boggles! They hope to get their management team sorted out and run the festival again in the future. 

Round here we have much more sensible events like the Band Contest which takes place on Whit Friday, involving brass bands from all over the country and indeed from all over the world. Even if the weather doesn’t favour outdoor events, the bands go from village to village in Saddleworth, marching into each village playing their instruments and then play for judges who rate them and eventually award a prize to the best band. Some people follow bands from village to village. Others, most  people I think, just stay in one village and drink al fresco, cheering each band as it arrives. Our local fish and chip shop does great business!

When I first discovered the Band Contest, back in the 1970s, pubs used to  open quite early in the morning and some folk just drank all day. As the event became more publicised and people came from far and wide, that early morning drinking was somewhat curtailed, for fairly obvious reasons.

There are Whit Walks in the morning, local church and Sunday school attendees following their Sunday School banner through their village. Old traditions!

In line with a new tradition that my daughter and I have started, I am busily crocheting small tigers. Chinese New Year is coming and we are about to enter the year of the tiger. My daughters youngest two offspring have a Chinese father and so she decided they should receive a toy animal for each new year. I am involved as the creator of the animals.  

According to the Internet: Tigers are courageous and active people who love a good challenge and adventure in life.

Like their eponymous zodiac animal, people born in years of the Tiger are vigorous and ambitious, daring and courageous, enthusiastic and generous, self-confident with a sense of justice and a commitment to help others for the greater good.

I am not aware of knowing any Tigers … but you never know!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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