12 June 2019


Some news for fortean philatelists and folklorists. On 9th July the Royal Mail will issue a set of stamps depicting ‘Curious Customs’, and a rather odd selection it is.
Two second-class stamps show the ‘Obby ‘Oss of Padstow; and the Burning Of The Clocks in Brighton, an event I have never heard of before. On the two first-class stamps we see Up Helly Aa, the Orkney Islands’ New Year Viking festival; and the very curious World Gurning Championships in Egremont in Cumbria, which is basically pulling funny faces through a horse’s collar.

Stamps at £1.55 show Cheese Rolling in Gloucestershire, perhaps to celebrate its rescue from elf’n’safety fanatics; and Halloween in Londonderry in Northern Ireland. I don’t know why Halloween is particularly connected with Londonderry, but I suppose it would be inadvisable to philatelically depict Northern Ireland’s other famous curious custom, the Orange Lodge marches!

On the £1.60 denomination stamps we find the very traditional Horn Dance at Abbot’s Bromley in Staffordshire and the rather less ancient Bog Snorkelling event at Lanwrtyd Wells in Powys, Wales.

Unfortunately the only illustrations of the designs that I have seen are of very poor quality, but if I find better images I will post them later.


Phil said...

When I saw that reference to the Burning of the Clocks (which was a new one on me, too, despite spending a fair bit of time in Brighton between the 80s & 00s), I thought bet it's a bit of neo-pagan nonsense chucked together ten years ago by some well-intentioned ageing hippies aiming to brighten up the winter months, create a fun event for all the family and above all offend nobody".

I was a few years out; apparently it dates from 1993. Wikipedia:

Brighton newspaper The Argus argue that the event "[creates] new urban rituals to replace traditional festivals lost in the politically correct drive to be modern, secular and non-superstitious."

I would have thought the best antidote to the drive to be modern, secular and non-superstitious was to say "Sod it!" and go ahead and revive those traditional festivals, but hey, I'm an old folkie.

Magonia said...

I'm just an old folk, but I agree!