Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is one of the world’s most unusual events. It is held every year on the Spring Bank Holiday near the city of Gloucester, England. The event involves gloucester cheese, a traditional, semi-hard cheese that has been made in the county of Gloucestershire since the 16th century.

The origins of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake are unclear. According to one of the theories, the custom of rolling objects down Cooper’s Hill is of pagan nature. It is thought that locals rolled bundles of burning brushwood down the hill as a symbol of birth of the New Year and beginning of spring after winter. Another theory claims that the ceremony evolved from a requirement for maintaining grazing rights on the common.

Be that as it may, the tradition is hundreds of years old. Originally held by and for the residents of Brockworth, a small village in Gloucestershire, it now attracts participants from all over the country and even abroad. For example, in 2013 two of the four races were won by foreign participants, one from the United States and the other from Japan. Since 2010, the event has been held spontaneously without official management.

So, what does a cheese rolling contest look like? A large round cheese (traditionally, double gloucester is used for the purpose) is rolled down the slope of Cooper’s Hill and chased by a group of runners. In theory, the winner is expected to catch the cheese, but its speed is so high that the first person to reach the bottom of the hill is declared winner and is given the cheese as a prize.

The race is considered to be dangerous because the slope is lengthy and steep so that runners spend most of their descent tumbling and falling. That’s why the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake doesn’t have official management anymore: after the official event was canceled due to safety concerns, people just showed up and held spontaneous races.

Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

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