Monday, February 26, 2007

This is something that I found here, for Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking.

The Easter Monday tradition of 'Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking' in Hallaton, Leicestershire, England, is really quite intricate. To start, the ingredients of a hare pie include:

4 pounds of flour
2 pounds of lard
2 hares
3 pounds of onions
7 pounds of potatoes

The pie is cooked on Easter Monday, using a 20-inch square tin, at either the Torch House, which belongs to Torch Trust for the Blind or at the Bewick Arms.

The pie is paraded in a procession through the village from the Fox Inn to the gate of St. Michael's Church. Immediately behind the pie in the procession are the three 'bottles' that are used for the Bottle Kicking match. These are actually small barrels, about 14 inches high by 9 inches in diameter and weighing about 20 pounds. Two of these are brown in color and filled with about a gallon of ale each. The remaining 'bottle' is left empty and is colored red and white.

The pie is distributed by the rector of St. Michael's Church to the crowd. Some of the pie is put into sacks and carried away with other processions through the village, ending at the top of Hare Pie bank. This is where the Bottle Kicking match takes place between Hallaton and the neighboring village of Medbourne. There is no limit to the number of competitors in the Bottle Kicking match.

The competitors arrange themselves in a circle at the top of the bank. The chairman of the Bottle Kicking match throws the first full bottle into the air and allows it to fall on the ground. This is repeated twice more. When the bottle lands on the ground the third time, it is 'in play.' What follows is a chaotic battle between the two teams to move the bottle toward their respective villages over their respective touch lines, which are between two separate streams at each end of Hare Pie bank, approximately three-quarters of a mile apart. There are numerous hedges, lanes, ditches and even barbed wire between the two touch lines.

Once the first score has been made, the whole process is repeated with the empty bottle. If the previous losing team effects a tie, the process is repeated with the final bottle. At the end of the match, both teams walk back to Hallaton, where the winning team drinks both bottles and the losing team has to watch!

It is believed that Hare Pie bank was previously a stowe, a place of pagan worship.

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posted by Dave Richards at Monday, February 26, 2007 ¤ Permalink ¤