Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling takes place this year on May 27! Mark Your Calendar and Grab Your Sneakers!
This is one of the strangest rituals out there, and one of my favorites for it's ridiculousness. Every Spring Bank Holiday in a village in Gloucester England, thousands of people gather to watch brave contestants chase a huge wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down the steep, in places concave, Coopers Hill. There are about 40 contestants chasing the cheese which can gain speeds of up to 70 mph! The first contestant to the bottom of the hill wins. And what does he or she win? Lots and lots of cheese. And bragging rights for winning this crazy contest. No one is sure of the origins of this ritual, but some say it is an adaptation of the pagan ritual of rolling burning balls of brush down hills to represent the birth of spring after winter. The master of ceremony begins the race by throwing out biscuits, buns and candy, thought to also be a ritual to celebrate fertility of summer.
Recently the heavy cheese was replaced by a foam replica for safety reasons, though not entirely sure what that means. Though I guess getting hit by a dense heavy cheese wheel at 70 mph could cause damage. The event is silly and fun but every year some contestants are hurt as they topple and flip head over heels down the hill, often resulting in injuries, including broken bones, requiring hospitalization. I think I'll just meet up with the battered and bruised contestants afterwards at The Cheese Rollers Pub for a beer and a cheese sandwich when I eventually get there to see this in person. Love the Brits for their loves of both silliness and tradition, and this seems to combine both perfectly. #cheeserolling #cheese #england #coopershillrace #ritual #stonefeatherfire #race #funny