Cheese Rolling


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Cheese Rolling

May-June, Monday after Pentecost
In Gloucestershire, England, cheese rolling is believed to have been a popular annual sport for at least 500 years. It is held on Whit-Monday in Birdlip. Cooper's Hill, which is located in Birdlip near Brockworth and is a thousand feet high, is famous for its fine pasture lands. Rolling the cheese down this hill traditionally reminded villagers of their rights to graze their sheep there.
Early in the evening, the event leader, sporting a white smock and top hat, rolls the "cheese" (nowadays, three or four large wooden discs) down the hill. People chase after them, and the first to capture one of the discs receives a small prize. The game is quite tricky, because the descent down Cooper's Hill is very steep, and people often end up tumbling down the side more quickly than the discs.
Cheese rolling is a May Day custom in Stilton, where men and women in teams of four compete to roll the wooden cheese.
CONTACTS:
Stilton Community Association
8 Caldecote Rd.
Stilton, Peterborough PE7 3RH United Kingdom
44-17-3324-1206
www.stilton.org
SOURCES:
YrbookEngFest-1954, p. 238
YrFest-1972, p. 40
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