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Easter Bottle Kicking

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Get your beer to the bank first
easter bottle kicking, hare pie scramble

How do you spend your Easter? With egg hunts, chocolate, and Sunday roast? You are probably among the majority. But there is a little village in Leicestershire that likes to do things a bit differently. At Easter, they eat hare pie (made from beef) and kick bottles.

At the moment, these people sound more like city hooligans causing trouble on the streets after a late night at the pub, rather than quiet folk in a rural village, but let me explain.

Back in the 17th century, two women from Hallaton were in a field on Easter Monday, when they started to be chased by a bull. Fortunately for them, a hare ran across their path and distracted the bull long enough for them to get away. The women retold the story to the other villagers and celebrated with a pie. They called it hare pie, but because a hare saved them, it seemed rather offensive to use hare as the meat, so they used beef from a bull instead.

The day was celebrated for many years, but one year, a mob from the neighbouring village of Medbourne stole their beer, and tried to escape with the barrels. Hallaton retaliated, kicking the barrels back to the bank of their village.

Now every Easter Monday the Hare Pie Scramble & Easter Bottle Kicking Festival takes place. They parade from the Fox Inn, and gather at Hare Pie Hill. The pie is thrown and everyone scrambles for a piece. Then the game begins. Two teams - one from Hallaton, and the other from Medbourne must kick three barrels full of cider down to their respective banks. The team to get their cider home first, safely is the winner.

Then what? They drink it of course.
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Why? Ridiculous fun
When: 1st April
Where: Fox Inn
Cost: Free
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