Locals from two neighbouring villages have been left bloodied after competing in a 1,000-year-old game of ‘bottle-kicking’ for the first time in three years.
Residents of Hallaton and Medbourne, Leicestershire, have been competing against each other to get a wooden beer cask across each other’s boundary as part of an Easter Monday tradition.
The annual event, cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid, is claimed to date back to Pagan times.
Also returning for the first time since the pandemic were egg rolling events in Cornwall and Preston, the International Jousting Tournament in Leeds, World Egg Jarping Championships in Peterlee and The Britannia Coconut Dancers of Bacup returned to the streets.
Bottle-kicking reportedly first started when a local vicar gave poor residents in Hallaton a pie and beer every Easter Monday, which Medbourne residents subsequently took.
But villagers were back at it again today as crowds filled the streets and tussled over an old fashioned barrels sealed closed with a wax stamp depicting a hare.
The day begins with a parade through both villages in which locals carry a large hare pie and three ‘bottles’ – two filled with beer and a third ‘dummy’ barrel painted red and white and filled with wood.
Crowds desperately dive to the floor to try and get their hands on one of the bottles as the game took place for the first time since 2019 today
A player carrying the ‘bottle’, an old field barrel holding about a gallon of beer, crashes into a female spectator during the traditional game
Villagers, some topless or wearing ruby attire, scramble to get their hands on one of the barrels
A man tries to scramble away from other villagers while holding one of the three bottles on Monday
An aggressive fight takes place to secure the barrel in the no holds barred game of bottle kicking
The game see participants compete to bring the ‘bottle’ across a boundary stream in their respective village
A large hare pie is thrown into a crowd in Hallaton before the bottle-kicking game got underway this afternoon
A barrel is thrown in the air three times to signal the beginning of the game, before villagers dive to get their hands on it
Blood drips from the head of one villager who took part in the traditional game on Easter Monday
Warrener John Morrison (centre) leads the hare pie parade before the annual game of bottle-kicking in Hallaton
The hare pie is paraded through the village before the annual game between Hallaton and neighbouring Medbourne
One of the ‘bottles’, an old fashioned barrel, is carried by villagers from Medbourne to the neighbouring village of Hallaton before the game
Three ‘bottles’, old fashioned barrels, are carried by villagers before the game kicked off this afternoon
A large group of villagers carry one of the barrels on Easter Monday as the game took place for the first time since 2019
The pie is blessed by a Hallaton vicar, before being cut apart and thrown towards onlooking crowds to scramble over the food.
In the afternoon, the bottle-kicking gets underway with no rules aside from no ‘eye-gouging, strangling or use of weapons’, while organisers keenly insist they cannot accept any liability for injury.
Each barrel is thrown in the air three times to signal the beginning of the game, before residents of each village attempt to get the barrels over their neighbours’ stream – around a mile apart.
Upon the end of the game, which often lasts beyond an hour, residents retire to local pubs.
One of the ‘bottles’, an old fashioned barrel, is filled with ale at the Fox Inn in Hallaton, Leicestershire before the annual game
One of the bottle is filled with beer, which is later consumed by victorious villagers standing by the Hallaton’s Butterworth monument
One of the ‘bottles’, an old fashioned barrel, is sealed with a wax stamp depicting a hare before being taken away to be used in the game
The wax stamp depicting a hare, which is later used during the feisty game between Hallaton and the neighbouring village of Medbourne
Participants are advised to take ‘extreme caution’, but pictures on Monday showed bloodied villagers as many took to the floor to get their hands on the prestigious barrels.
The task of moving the barrels at all became increasingly difficult as scrums broke out between the residents.
Following the game, both participants and spectators return to the Buttercross, a monument in Hallaton, where individual villagers receive recognition for strong effort before an opened bottle is passed around for everyone to drink.
In Gorran Haven, Cornwall, children were seen rolling decorated Easter eggs down the street in a competition. Similar events were held in other parts of the country, including Preston, Lancashire.
Egg rolling, usually held on Easter Monday, is done on a hill or slope, and dates back to 1867. It symbolises the stone rolling away from Jesus’ tomb.
A small crowd gathers for an egg rolling competition in Gorran Haven, Cornwall, today. Children roll decorated Easter eggs down a slope
On a roll! Children bring their decorated hardboiled egg to take part in the competition
The eggs pick up speed as they roll down the slope, with youngsters chasing after their hand-decorated design
The hardboiled eggs bounce and roll downwards, as onlookers spot them going past
A young girl crouches down to pick up her egg, as part of the Gorran Haven race
Eggs bounce and continue down the hill as their decorators chase them through the village’s street
In Bacup, Lancashire, The Britannia Coconut Dancers returned for the first time in two years on Easter Saturday, with a traditional performance dating back to the 1800s.
The troop wear an outfit to represent the Moorish Pirate. It includes a turban-style hat with white, red and blue, a black jumper, black velvet knee breeches, a white kilt, white knee length socks, Lancashire clogs, five ‘nuts’ similar to castanets, and black face paint.
The unusual, Morris-like dance and the costume are thought to have been brought to Rossendale Valley by Cornish tin-miners after their industry depleted.
The Britannia Coconut Dancers returned for the first time in two years on Easter Saturday, with a traditional performance dating back to the 1800s. Pictured in 2013
The unusual, Morris-like dance and the costume are thought to have been brought to Rossendale Valley by Cornish tin-miners after their industry depleted
On Easter Sunday, the Peterlee World Egg Jarping Championships crowned their newest winner.
Held at a pub in the County Durham town, the event challenges participants to see whose hard-boiled egg is the toughest, by tapping them against each other until one cracks.
The championships have been running for more than 30 years and have strict rules. Previously held on Easter Monday, it switched to Easter Sunday in 2012. The winner is given a trophy and certificate.
The International Jousting Tournament was held for the first time since the pandemic this weekend in Leeds
Points in the tournament are awarded for horsemanship, lance skills as well as the accuracy and striking power in the joust
The four-day tournament was held at the Royal Armouries Museum and saw knights from Norway, Portugal and the UK battle to be awarded the museum’s Sword of Honour and Queen’s Jubilee Trophy
A reenactor checks his armour while on a horse, at the International Jousting Tournament
Those in attendance were in full costume, with traditional flags included in the historical event
A man and woman wear traditional dress as they ride at the Leeds event. Knights travelled from Norway and Portugal to take part
In Leeds, reenactors spent Easter weekend dressed as knights for the International Jousting Tournament.
The four-day tournament was held at the Royal Armouries Museum and saw knights from Norway, Portugal and the UK battle to be awarded the museum’s Sword of Honour and Queen’s Jubilee Trophy.
Points are awarded for horsemanship, lance skills as well as the accuracy and striking power in the joust.
This year was the first time the event has returned since the pandemic.
On Easter Sunday, people dressed as knights were sword fighting and jousting at Sewerby Hall in the East Riding of Yorkshire
A man wearing chain mail along with black and yellow accessories rides a horse at Sewerby Hall
Other jousting events were held across the country, including one at Sewerby Hall in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
The event was held on Easter Sunday and saw people dressed as knights jousting and sword fighting.
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