Where: Hallaton, Leicestershire
What is it?
Every Easter Monday the village of Hallaton plays host to a unique custom. Bottle Kicking is said to date back over 200 years and begins with a parade through the villages of Medbourne and Hallaton. The parade was traditionally held to ‘wake’ the villagers.
The locals carry a hare pie and three small kegs, two of which are filled with beer and the other is made painted wood. The hare pie is blessed by the vicar of Hallaton and then thrown to the crowd for the “scramble”.
The small kegs or “bottles” are then taken to the Buttercross (a structure once used for keeping butter and cheese cool when the village was a market town) to be dressed with ribbons.
The only rules to bottle kicking are no eye-gouging, no strangling, and no use of weapons. The competition begins with the bottles being tossed into the air. Teams then try to move the bottles across two streams, one mile (1.6 km) apart, by any means possible. The contest is not for the faint-hearted and can get pretty rough!
Particpants who have performed well are rewarded by being hoisted on top of the Buttercross and are then handed one of the bottles to drink from before retiring to the local pub for a few drinks and a bit of banter.
More info: Visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottle-kicking to find out more about the history of this unique and quirky event.