Tomorrow (Friday 9th August) will see an unusual character, decorated in flowers, ferns and burrs, wandering the streets of South Queensferry, near Edinburgh.
The Burryman traditionally sees a man, covered from head to toe in sticky green burrs, parading through the town spreading good cheer. But why? Well, no one actually knows for sure!
The custom has been taking place annually since at least the late 17th century and for many years took place on the day before the local Ferry Fair. The Burryman (or Burry Man) is most likely to have been a pagan ritual, connected to the harvest. However, there are other theories about how this strange parade began.
The Burryman traditionally paraded around the town, calling at houses, pubs and businesses, collecting gifts and money (and a dram or two of whisky) as he went. This was probably believed to bring good luck.
The Burryman’s costume is made up of sticky burrs (the sticky flower heads of the burdock plant) and is topped off with a hat made of flowers. The costume is completed with a flag tied around the waist and two staves decorated with flowers. The Burryman holds a stave in each hand as he walks around, helped by two smartly dressed attendants. It’s a tricky and prickly task, but one much respected by the local community.
Today, the current Burryman still goes out (with a bit of help from his family) to collect the burrs from the local countryside, ready for the annual parade. The parade is free to watch and everyone is encouraged to head out and support this unique custom.
When: 9th August 2019
Where: South Queensferry, Edinburgh, Scotland
£: Free to watch
More info: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burryman