Cheese-RollingCategory: Customs + Festivals
On Whit Monday each year, large crowds gather at Cooper’s Hill, near Birdlip and Painswick, Gloucestershire, to watch the centuries-old cheese-chasing contest, which begins at 6 p. m. It is performed in order to maintain certain grazing rights and the protection of common land. The huge cheese, packed in a wooden crate, is set at the top of the hill.
The starter, dressed in an ancient smock and a white beaver hat, gives the signal and the cheese is set rolling down the one-in-three hillside. After it chase the contestants, taking many a tumble as they career madly down the slope. The first person to retrieve the runaway cheese keeps it, and there are prizes for the runners-up. Several cheeses are raced for in turn.