The Cooper’s Hill cheese rolling and awake is an annual event held on the Spring Bank holiday at Cooper’s hill located in Gloucester, England. The event was initially meant for the people who lived locally in the village of Brockworth, but since has evolved into an event garnering a tremendous amount of international attention. It attracts participants ranging from countries like the united states to New Zealand.
History of COOPER’S HILL CHEESE ROLLING AND AWAKE
The event used to initially take place on Whit Monday but has since been moved to Spring Bank Holiday. There are two accounts of the origins of the festival. The first is said to be that of maintaining grazing rights on the common.
The second account gives one a more in-depth understanding of its origins. It is said that the festival itself was influenced by the pagan rituals of rolling objects down the hill. It is believed that, initially, bundles of burning brushwood were rolled down the hill to represent the advent of the New Year after winter. A tradition associated with this ritual is that of the scattering of buns, biscuits, and sweets at the top of the hill. It is believed that this encourages good growth of fruits and harvest.
About COOPER’S HILL CHEESE ROLLING AND AWAKE
The festival takes its name from the hill outside Gloucester. Cooper’s hill is known to be a steep and uneven hill. A nine-pound, round of double Gloucester cheese is sent rolling down the hill by the Master of Ceremonies. The participants are required to start racing to own the hill after the round of cheese. The first person to make it to the bottom and across the finishing line wins the cheese. In actuality, the person who catches the cheese wins it. However, the cheese can reach the speed of almost a hundred and ten kilometers per hour, hence the chances of actually catching it are very less.
The participants are divided into three categories, namely, men, women, and children, and all three categories compete separately. While the aim is to run down the hill, many end up rolling or tumbling down the hill. Due to this, the number of people that complete the race is significantly lesser than the ones that start it.
Due to the surface of the hill, many injuries take place every year. Typically, first aid services are provided at the bottom of the hill. Often ambulances are present at the event in the case of serious injuries. The local rugby club also volunteers to help carry injured participants to the base of the hill.
The cheese that is a part of the event is a double Gloucester cheese which is traditionally made in a circular shape. It is protected, for the rolling, with a wooden casing around the side, and is decorated with ribbons.
The event has been a spectator of many injuries in the past. As a result of this, the actual cheese round was replaced with a foam replica. The winner, however, was given the real round of cheese.
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