This past summer my family and I went on a trip to Europe to meet up with my brother for his two weeks of leave; he is a Lieutenant in the army stationed in Iraq. One of my favorite stops was England; we visited family friends, saw the British museum and toured Oxford. England was gorgeous; I really enjoyed taking the train throughout the country, visiting local pubs, and taking walks through the city. The United Kingdom is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and has played a major role in the forming of the United Nations and all throughout its history. In fact, I just learned that the first meeting of the General Assembly took place in London in 1946.
A festival unique to The United Kingdom is an event that might not be quite as well known. The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling competition is an event unlike anything I’ve ever heard of- so naturally I want to see it one day. The festival was traditionally intended for the people of the local village, but it has grown into an event that gathers an international crowd.
The goal of the competition is simple: chase a wheel of cheese down a hill. The event takes place on Cooper’s Hill, which said to be incredibly steep, making it nearly impossible for the chasers to remain on foot. A wheel of Double Gloucester Cheese, weighing about 7 or 8 pounds is rolled down the hill by the MC, after a few seconds the chasers are released and they try to race down the hill after it. Whoever crosses the finish line first after the cheese wins the cheese. What’s interesting about this race is that there are often a number of injuries- ambulances are always stationed nearby. Yet the event still persists and people attend from all over the United Kingdom and the world. The day of the event, Gloucestershire is packed with spectators and racers. The first race begins and is followed by three more (the third is traditionally the “Ladies Race”).
The Gloucestershire Cheese Festival is an obscure event in a small corner of the world, which is why I find it so intriguing! I hope that this blog will inspire others to discover such aspects of other cultures that are little known. What better way is there to learn about our world and the people in it? How else are we to relate to cultures foreign to our own? There’s so much to see and experience out there, you just have to do a little searching!
Check out this ESPN video on the Cheese Rolling Festival: