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British Life & Culture
Unusual British Customs & Traditions
by Mandy Barrow

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Strange, bizarre, wacky, eccentric and even mad festivals still taking place in Britain today

Calendar of unusual Customs and Traditions
in England, Scotland and Wales
image: Unusual Calendar

A long time ago the year was marked out with special days which marked the passing year. These were days of celebrations where people would do things, eat things or make things which they would not normally do.

See also folklore, facts and sayings about September

The Horn Dance

Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire
The ancient Horn Dance is an annual event held traditionally on the first Monday after the first Sunday after September 4th!

horn dancers

The famous Horn Dance is performed by six Deer-men who wear reindeer horns. The dancers follow a 10 mile course and perform the ritual in 12 different locations in and around the village, whilst the musician plays tunes such as “The Farmers Boy” and “Uncle Mick” on a melodeon, with accompaniment from a triangle.
More information

Church Clipping

It involves surrounding a Church by holding hands. The custom is supposed to be an outward display of affection by the parishioners, for their church. Its origins are unknown.

Painswick Church Clipping, Painswick, Gloucestershire
3rd week in September

Wirksworth Clipping the Church, Peak Districton
Sunday nearest to the 8th of September.

Hop Hoodening - Canterbury Kent - Early September

The county of Kent was the main hop growing area in the country. Hop Hoodening celebrates the harvesting of the hops. The celebration begins with a Procession through the shopping precincts into the Cathedral by the Hop Queen in a Hop Bower, followed by country dancers and Morris Men. The procession is usually accompanied by two Hooden Horses .

Horseman's Sunday - Hyde Park Church - Third Sunday

The vicar of St John's Church appears before his congregation on horseback and blesses a hundred or so horses. He then leads a cavalcade of over 100 horses and riders to the church to celebrate horse riding in the heart of London.

At noon the horses begin to arrive in procession, lining up along the forecourt of the church and on Hyde Park Crescent for a blessing, before taking part in a ride-past and a presentation of rosettes.

See the photographs

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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.