image: title

British Life & Culture

Special Events and Celebrations

by Mandy Barrow

Follow me on Twitter
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec
British Culture homepage
Easter Facts
What is Easter ?
Easter Dates
Shrove Tuesday
Pancake Day in England
Around the World
English pancake recipe
Ash Wednesday
Mothering Sunday
Holy Week
Palm Sunday
Maundy Thursday
Good Friday
Holy Saturday
Easter Day
Easter Monday
Easter Customs
Easter Eggs
Easter Food
Unusual Events
Easter Superstitions
Easter Recipes
Pancake recipe
Simnel Cake Recipe
Easter Activities
Easter Quiz
Teaching Resources

This site uses cookies. See our Cookie Policy for information
Easter Monday
Woodlands Junior School is in the south-east corner of England

Easter Monday, another UK Public Holiday, has little religious significance but is the occasion for numerous secular customs.

Egg rolling

Egg rolling is very popular in England and the rest of the UK and is an Easter Monday sport. Hard-boiled eggs are rolled down a hill. Customs differ from place to place. The winner's egg may be the one that rolls the farthest, survives the most rolls, or is rolled between two pegs.

Biddenden Dole

At Biddenden in Kent, the Biddenden Dole, in the form of bread, cheese, tea (formerly beer) and cake is distributed. The cake bears an image of two women said to be the founders of this charity, a pair of Siamese twins who were born in 1100 and died within a few hours of each other at the age of 34.

Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking

At Hallaton in Leicestershire, the Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking, an unruly rugby game between the village of Hallaton and Medbourne, takes place every Easter Monday. Hallaton is picturesque village with lots of old thatched cottages and set in beautiful countryside.

Small wooden barrels filled with ale are used as rugby balls in the no-holds barrel contest, the object of which is to get each of the three casks to a touchline in either village.

One of the barrels is brightly painted in red, white and blue.

The history behind the Hare Pie Scrambe and Bottle Kicking

The custom dates back to 1770, the Rector of Hallaton was allotted a piece of land on condition that he provided two hare pies, two dozen loaves of bread and a quantity of ale, which has to be scrambled for in public.

What happens


On Easter Monday a large hare pie is paraded in a procession through Hallaton Village from the Fox Inn to St. Michael’s Church. The procession is led by a man wearing a green robe who carries a pole topped by a metal hare, and a woman in old fashioned costume carrying a basket of penny loaves. Two young women follow them, carrying a large hare pie, followed by three men in football shirts carrying three bottles above their heads, followed by a band with bagpipes and drums.

At the gates of the parish church, slices are cut up, blessed by the rector and pieces thrown into the crowd. The proecession then leads to the cross where the penny loaves are broken up and thrown into the crowd.

The procession finally ends on a hill overlooking the village. There follows a football game, played across country with the bottles (barrels) instead of a ball.

The game

Two teams fight over three small beer barrels, in an attempt to get each barrel across the stream in their village by any means possible. The two teams are the Hallaton team, made up exclusively of villagers, and the Medbourne team, open to anyone.

The Hallaton side try to get the barrels down the hill and over the stream behind the Bewick Arms, whilst the Medbourne team try to get the barrels over the fields for a mile or so towards their village.

The game is played as a best of three with one barrel in playat a time. It is a very tough contest that can last for hours, crossing numerous hedges, lanes, ditches and even barbed wire to reach their touchlines.

World Coal Carrying Championship

On Easter Monday, The World Coal Carrying Championship takes place in the village of Gawthorpe, in Yorkshire. Contestants run for one mile, carrying a 50kg bag of coal.

History behind the custom
The contest dates from an incident at the Beehive Inn in 1963, when Lewis Hartley said to Reggie Sedgewick: "Ba gum, lad, tha' looks buggered!" to which an affronted Mr Sedgewick riposted: "Let's 'ave a coil race from Barracks t' Maypole." And they did.

London Harness Horse Parade- Easter Monday
South of England showground, Ardingly, West Sussex.
The first parade occurred in 1885 to encourage drivers to take a humane view of their horses. Today a huge variety of vehicles can be seen in action from rarely used horse drawn fire engines to the Harrods delivery ‘unicorn’ which is used every day.

Click here to see other rather unsual customs in the UK

back to the topLearn about England and the other countries in Britain
from the children who live in there


email© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

Follow Project BritainTwitterFollow Mandy Barrow on TwitterGoogle Plus

Facts and information about LondonBritish Royal FamilyVirtual Tour of the Thames

Special facts and information about each month of the yearInformation on Britain and the UK for Kids of all agesBritish History

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and 
are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.