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                    Paraffin Man Passing the barrel                

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!