TAR BARRELS NIGHT
EVERY NOVEMBER THE 5TH IN A TOWN IN CALLED OTTERY-ST-MARY
IN EAST DEVON THE TAR BARRELS ARE RUN THROUGH THE STREETS. ITS NOT
CLEAR WHY OR WHAT FOR, SOME SAY IT ORIGINATES FROM A PAGAN RITUAL
WHICH CLEANSES THE STREETS. WHATEVER IT IS FOR IT IS DEFINITELY
A STRANGE AND EXCITING TIME FOR MOST PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL FROM ALL
OVER THE WORLD TO EXPERIENCE THE TAR BARREL EVENT.
Each barrel is set alight in turn at the many pubs of this small
Devonshire town. The Barrel men who seem to be a bit worse for alcohol
tussle with the barrel for the privilege to run through the crowd
with flames pouring from the barrel on their backs. It is all akin
to running with the bulls in Pamplona Spain but just a bit hotter.
The barrel runners seemingly try to burn as main people as they
can on their way but surprisingly not many people are hurt (well,
not too badly) and its comforting to see many St John's ambulances
around should the worst happen and you go up in flames. It has to
be said however that people are given good warning that they enter
Ottery St Mary on Bonfire Night at their own risk! Well worth a
visit if you like being scared!